The day that my Friend "the Indigenous Xicano" was depressed in Utah and wrote about his terrible past in jail and things like that
The article is a revelation of why he fights for Humanity and Kindness
He has this wonderful blog :
And one strage day he wrote this strange but beautiful article about his past :
But many friends wrote him to animate and prod him to continue.
Here is the article with a revelation of why he fights for Humanity and Kindness.
Article of "I am not a Blogger" :
Sunday, March 1, 2009
I am not a blogger
I do not think I am a blogger. As much as I would like to write I find that I have not the time, the energy, nor the focus to write anything of substance. Since I cannot find the time or energy to write I am going to stop blogging. I am not a blogger. Heck, I am horrible at just keeping a personal journal.
With that said I will share my thoughts on a blog from Dave Bennion on Change.org. Dave recently wrote about crooked notaries who take advantage of immigrants who lack the knowledge and experience navigating the currents of commerce and paperwork in the U.S. It angers me to think of the greedy, corrupt people who rip-off poor immigrants for any reason, especially to push false dreams of obtaining a green card. Yet, I was once one of those people who took advantage of immigrants. I did not target them, they were just there, random victims who just happened to be easy targets to feed my need. It hurts just to write those words.
Sometimes I wonder if the immense passion I feel about immigration and helping immigrants stems from my past when I used their vulnerabilities to feed my "needs". Few people ever want to see the monster that may exist within. I have already, many times, traveled that painful road of introspection. I do believe that my passion is separate from my past misdeeds.
I write this piece in reference to my next and last post about my reactions to my first visit to the 18th Street "L" station in 22 years. When I talk about my past it is not to glamorize it or glorify it. There is no glamor and glory to anti-social behavior nor is there any glamor or glory to the stories that delivered a child to manhood with such fears, anger, violence, and addictions.
Once a teen approached me after I had talked about my past and said he wanted to be like me. I felt complimented. Before I could answer he added that since I could lead the life I had as a younger man then he too could party and be crazy and turn out "ok" like me. I guess people hear what they want to hear and will validate who they are with any evidence that they may misconstrue. To this young man I was glorifying my past. I have been very careful never to repeat that error.
There is no glory to wasting a life away.
Two days ago I received a call to help an undocumented worker who had worked for a subcontractor to lay carpet but was not paid for his services. He had worked a month and never was paid. Then he was laid-off. They wanted to know if I could help. I thrive on these opportunities. I feel like a chained pit bull ready to bite the ass off of some unscrupulous opportunist who knows that his victims will not risk calling the police.
The subcontractor was a Mexican who had a green card. That angers me more to think that someone would rip off their own kind. Capitalism breeds greed. Maximize profits. That is what illegal immigration is all about.
"Tienes cambio para veinte?" I asked in my broken Spanish to the lone man strolling down 18th Street on a summer Sunday in 1977. When he pulled out two tens I quickly grabbed them and said menacingly and coldly directly into his eyes"no puedes hacer nada." I pocketed the easily earned 20 and went on my way. Just one moment in the day. Just another business transaction of the street. Life as usual.
I felt as if I owned that piece of street between Paulina and Wood and the bars that existed on the block. There was one bar that I especially terrorized using bizarre rationalizing. The owner, a mean old Mexican woman named Pabla ran a slave trade where she would import young women from Mexico. In return they had to work in her bar for several years to repay her "kindness." Several of the women shared their stories of horror with me, but I was not into saving lives. Still, it upset my political sense of right and wrong. While I was exploiting the immigrants with petty crime I somehow had ire and empathy over the plight of these women. Barely a day went by without my presence in Pabla's bar causing havoc.
In 1980 I arrived in Utah. I jumped bail on some trumped up charges of armed robbery. It is a long story I will not delve into here. Although the charges were trumped up I still was guilty of many other crimes so I never cried about the situation. It is what it is.
My mother and my siblings were already here courtesy of the witness protection program. My mother was forced to testify against my former brother-in-law who smuggled heroin from Durango for the Herrara family, at that time a big-time Mexican crime family. In return they gave my mother and my siblings new identities. Another long story I will not go into.
After two years of working, coaching little league and becoming involved with my new community, I surrendered to the local authorities. So put down the phones, I am no longer a fugitive from justice.
When I think of all the crazy things in my life I wonder how many people there are in Utah who are here because they jumped bail on armed robbery charges and went to live with their family who were here on the Witness Protection program. Life is crazy. Life is funny.
Seven years earlier I was a high school student at Precious Blood Seminary in Liberty, Missouri. I was deeply interested in becoming a Priest. I have always been driven to serve and I wanted to serve God. I wanted to serve the only "true" church.
One Sunday while we were visiting Conception Abbey, a Catholic Monastery in Missouri, I found myself alone in their library. There were countless volumes of books written by long-dead men defending the faith during the period of the Protestant Reformation. Earlier that day we attended mass in a massive church. I had never experienced mass in this manner with men chanting as they once did centuries ago. The numerous statues and the chanting left me with the though that this was more sacred superstition that it was a movement of truth.
What is truth? A question many 16 year-old kids ask. A surge hit me at that moment. Truth is to be experienced through life and not through the intellectual discourses of countless volumes. None of this is true to me. There is no truth to this church. I had never felt so overwhelmed by a thought before. I had never felt so free as well.
Within a week I was back in Chicago. If the Catholic Church was not true then no church was true. Without religion my moral guidelines were skewed. I was basically a high school drop out without the emotional defense system and moral guidelines, forced by guilt and fear, that religion offered me.
I was ready to play full time on the pirate ship that the shady side of Pilsen was in the 70's. I was 16.
1980. Here I was in Utah. Mormon sister missionaries find us newcomers easily. They have a secret radar. The pair sat across me speaking about how Christ loves me. My mind wandered to the last seven years and where I had traveled-not physically but in the crazy fish tank experiences of life in Pilsen. I should be in prison. I should be dead. Some drunk once emptied his hand gun at me from about three car lengths away and somehow missed every shot. I heard bullets missile by my ears making a fierce sucking noise. Why was I here? How did I get out? I felt as if I was at the end of a bad journey-a bad dream that seemed more surreal than personal.
If the Catholic Church was not true then there could not be a God. I lived Godless for the last 7 years. Did Christ love me? It was the firm belief that he did that drove me unto the path to briefly consider the Priesthood. Did I take this mad journey of the last seven years for a reason? Could I become a new person?
Self-forgiveness was difficult. I had done many bad things. For some reason one incident stood out from all the others. At the time it happened it was a meaningless act of the street.
We roamed as a pack seeking a victim. A man walked out of the bar on Cermak and Paulina. He crossed the street and staggered into the alley walking east between Cermak and 21st Place. I made a gesture with the movement of my face to the others that this was our guy. We walked slowly behind him. The man was oblivious to the dangers of walking alone and drunk down a Chicago callejón.
We caught up to the man. He was probably in his early to mid 30's. He pleaded in Spanish with us to not hurt him. My knuckles responded to his plea by driving into his face with force enough to open a gash that drew a flow of blood. (It took me several attempts to type the word "knuckle"). It is hard for me to write about this without intense emotions running through me.
Ok. I can do this.
Tears are forming in my eyes as I write this.
I immediately put my hands in his shirt pocket and removed his money without anyone else noticing. As the man lay on the dirty alley ground they searched his pockets and wallet and found nothing. We left him there on the ground drunk with blood pouring from his face.
Pedro Morales did notice that I took money out of the man's pocket. He said nothing. He came to my house the next day and asked for a share. He said that his family had no money and he wanted to buy food for them. I gave him $30. He argued briefly that he deserved a bigger cut for not saying anything to the others. I found $150 in the pocket. I threatened Pedro and told him to be happy with what he had. He left.
The last time I saw Pedro he was a broken man. It was in 1978. He walked with his head down and he said not a word. A few months earlier he was savagely beaten by what he claims were Puerto Ricans. He was waiting for a bus on the north side one late night. He was wearing a nice leather coat that his assailants wanted. They jumped out of their car and traded the jacket for a beating of a lifetime. The beating left him in the hospital. He was not the same after the beating.
Here I was in Utah laying in bed and trying to forgive myself. I thought about this man in the alley. Of all people why was I thinking about this man? Did he have a family? Did he have kids? Was the money for his rent? Did his kids go without food because I stole their father's money? The thought that I made kids go without food until the next payday deeply disturbed me. Did one of his kids go without medicine because I took the money? I cried silently all night. I cried "please forgive me." But how could I ask forgiveness to a man I did not know?
Yet, I felt cleansed after that night of tearful sorrow. I have never taken anything that did not belong to me again. It feels good to exist in a world where honesty is the normal standard. There is nothing special or heroic about doing the right thing. We are supposed to do the right thing.
In my heart advocating for immigrants, refugees, and the elderly is the right thing. These are my passions in life. This is who I am.
I am not a blogger.
In a few days I will write about my reactions and memories of using the 18th Street "L" station in 2004 for the first time in 22 years. It was my first time back since I was released from Cook County jail in 1982 after I surrendered to the local authorities for jumping bail.
Written by "The Indigenous Xicano" from Utah - A very nice friend !