This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Americas Latino Festival, a prelude to a four-day festival with dozens of writers and artists that is scheduled for 2013. Irene Vilar, the director of the festival, spoke of art being intrinsic to culture and of Latino culture being intrinsic to the Americas. Vilar writes about trauma as a personal, familial, and cultural occurrence. Her book, Impossible Motherhood, is difficult and necessary because it describes her painful experience with abortion in a broad context and does so without political agenda.
Luis J. Rodriguez also spoke about the necessity of art, especially for marginalized communities plagued by violence and poverty. Rodriguez grew up with gangs in East LA, and it was art that saved him. He painted, but it was books, ultimately, that helped him survive and make his life. He and his wife founded the Tia Chucha Bookstore in LA, and he works internationally to end violence and empower young people through art and creativity. During his talk, Rodriguez drew attention to the more than 2 […]