Latina feminists perform poems that honor Latina women

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An oral history project will be 6-7 p.m. April 2 in Chance.

By Deandra Gonzalez

Five women from Womxn Artistically Kollecting Experiencias-Unidxs Prosperado, known as WAKE-UP, honored mothers and ancestors by reading a group poem called “Las Descendientes/Mochpochtzin” and performing individual poems at the Feminist Spoken Word March 21 in the mall.

WAKE-UP is a women’s empowerment group from the Rio Grande Valley who celebrate women of color, Chicanx and Latinx.

The group started in 2013 as a study group at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley when women got together to rant and talk about issues they had.

WAKE-UP performs at community and academic events said Veronica Solis, member of WAKE-UP.

The women, who are employees or students at UT-Rio Grande Valley, are Veronica Solis, writer and researcher at the office of sustainability; English seniors Camilia Gutierrez and Muriah Huerta; Catalina Camacho, research associate; and Daisy Salinas, poet and social worker.

“We each have a mission given to us by our migratory mothers,” Gutierrez said.

“The storyteller, the fighter, the survivor, the gatherer, the teacher,” each member said.

“It seems as if la ‘mujer’ (the woman) was created to suffer. She was born from blood ripped out from the womb,” Gutierrez read.

Gutierrez recognized her mom, who raised her and her sister.

“She lived as a single mom in Guanajuato in a single-bedroom apartment, selling tamales to get by,” Gutierrez said.

The group poem also had a theme of matrilineal heritage, described as “finding the strength of the women in your life, the women in your family and how they persevered and how they had to survive,” Solis said in an interview March 21.

WAKE-UP has performed at the Women’s Fair Trade Festival in Austin and the Folk Festival of Edinburg.

The individual poems had the theme of borderlines and individual experience.

Salinas reads from her poem “With my Machete Swinging.”

“I am more than my geographical location, more than these borderlands,” Salinas recited. “For as much as the Trump regime would like a white world, without the black and brown women’s labor, they would not exist.

“With the machete swinging in my hand I hear the battle cry of thousands of ancestors.”

WAKE-UP has a unique way of finding members for their group. Huerta said she was found by putting a quote from “Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza,” by Gloria E. Anzaldúa at one of WAKE-UPS performances.

One of the members had posted the quote to a group chat. It was when Huerta befriended another member that she was recognized as the one who wrote the quote.

WAKE-UP is on Facebook as WAKE-UP TX and on Intsagram and Tumblr as WAKE-UP RGV.

A Women’s History Month oral history project will be 6-7 p.m. April 2 in Room 122 of Chance Academic Center.


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