Cinco de Mayo and the Sixth Sun

by Ramsey Muñiz

“Even though I find myself confined without the freedom of movement or communication, the silence of our ancient spirituality has become part of my soul.”

This imprisonment of death does not prevent my destiny from being fulfilled in sharing the importance of El Cinco de Mayo. It is a day that people — nuestra raza throughout Aztlan and our Holy Land of Mexico, celebrate with happiness, pride, and joy, because our past heroes claimed our God-given right to independence. With the power of ancient resistance, we defeated the oppressive French invasion that came with the malicious purpose of destroying the essence and substance of spirituality, history, culture and human civilization.

As you read this brief note from the prisons of America, many are dying by the numbers throughout the Middle East for freedom, justice and the right to love. Soon the same will flow throughout the entire world. It is meant to be, as these struggles have been God-sent since His creation. When God created humanity, He created us free. Therefore, we are on the right side of God’s law in our struggle for justice and freedom.

The entire political scene in this country is preparing for a change like never before and we, the Mexicanos, Hispanics, Latinos, and Chicanos are going to be right in the middle of all the local, state and national elections. Politically, our time has come! Never before in our history will we be as powerful politically as we will be in these upcoming elections.

In remembrance of Cinco de Mayo, I rise with my heart full of love and power to greet our Sixth Sun, “Tonatoeotl.” Every morning in this confinement I awaken in the spirit of “Mexikayotl.” This is the spiritually the enabled brave Mexicano warriors to battle for our ancient spirits pertaining to land, freedom, justice, spiritually, and destiny.

This Cinco de Mayo is one that will not ever be forgotten, because in reality we are presently struggling as a people, raza, and nation in the same way that we did hundreds of years ago. The time has come for us to rise again and America will soon know that we have risen!

Con amor,
Ramsey – Tezcatlipoca

Dan Ramos Removed as Bexar County Chair

By John Dean Domingue, TCRR Correspondent

May 4, 2011

[Full disclosure—John Dean Domingue is an organizer within the Direct Action Network of San Antonio (DANSA), an organization intimately involved in the Dan Ramos story.]

Tonight, in a 104-5 vote, the Bexar County Democratic Party County Executive Committee (BCDP CEC) removed Dan Ramos as the chair of the party after homophobic and racist slurs uttered by the former chair in March of this year.

In a comment on one of the original news stories about Dan Ramos while the story was still developing, Dan Graney wrote, “Such remarks by a party official are totally unbecoming the office to which he was elected.” Graney, along with CEC precinct chair Dee Villarrubia, led the effort to remove Ramos from his position.

The sustained and difficult effort to remove Ramos included holding a vote to determine if he should go to trial by the party, trying him in absentia and rendering a guilty verdict, summoning a majority quorum (which has not happened since 2009), and voting for his official removal.

“The removal of Dan Ramos as Chair of the Bexar County Democratic Party marks a turning point for the civil rights movement in Texas. No longer will our community allow social diseases like homophobia and racism to infect the diverse people of San Antonio,” said Jay Morris, the founder of DANSA, which has been organizing to remove Ramos since his initial comments.

The next step of the process will be to elect a replacement within 20 days of the ouster vote.

Bexar County Dem Chairman Creates Rift with Comments

By John Dean Domingue, TCRR Correspondent

May 3, 2011

[Full disclosure—John Dean Domingue is an organizer with the Direct Action Network of San Antonio (DANSA), an organization intimately involved in the Dan Ramos story.]

The Bexar County Democratic Party (BCDP) has been in an uproar attempting to remove the party’s chair, Dan Ramos, who has been spewing anti-LGBT, anti-black, and anti-disability rhetoric coupled with continuous refusals to apologize or resign for almost two months.

On March 11th, Ramos gave an interview [1] to the San Antonio Current in which he compared the Stonewall Democratic Party, which represents LGBT rights, to termites, the Tea Party, and Nazis, and said, “[they’re] just like the blacks . . . they’re American, but you can’t get your way just because you’re black.”

The next week, on the morning of March 17th, Ramos held a press conference [2] , during which he reiterated almost word-for-word his statement about black Americans and said about homosexuals, “Look: this is not natural. This is like a kid who was born with a polio leg, you can’t kill him and you can’t sweep him under the rug,” implying that parents of disabled children should want to kill or hide their children and ignoring the fact that polio is not a congenital disease.

The San Antonio community, along with other communities, became outraged over these statements and immediately began to organize against Ramos. On the same day as Ramos’s press conference, the Direct Action Network of San Antonio [3] (DANSA) along with the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio [4] (SDSA) organized a protest demanding Ramos’s resignation outside of a fundraiser where the chair was thought likely to be that evening. Although Ramos did not attend, the activists seemed to have successfully communicated, through their ca. dozen attendees and inspirational signs, their message that Ramos’s rhetoric could neither be tolerated in San Antonio nor anywhere else.

Ramos’s judgments about blacks and gays ignited the passion—and in some instances, rage—of many San Antonio residents. In a blog entry [5] , DANSA founder Jay Morris writes, “In my household, only 50% of the gays are white, Anglo and blue eyed.  In my closest circle of friends, that drops significantly – to roughly 1 out of 10.” Morris writes in another entry [6], “I find the comment [about blacks] terribly offensive and degrading to the work of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Bayard Rustin, Rosa Parks, and many more heroes of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement.”

Within a couple weeks, literally dozens of organizations (both political and non-political) and elected officials called for the resignation of Ramos [7] , including Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, as well as Boyd Richie, the chair of the Texas Democratic Party.  By the end of March, almost 60 organizations and officials joined in. And then came the April 4th BCDP County Executive Committee (CEC) meeting, and Rally for Resignation.

The BCDP called its usual BCDP CEC meeting for April 4th at Luby’s Cafeteria on Main Street and put a proposal on the agenda to try Ramos for a violation of Robert’s Rules of Order, the set of parliamentary rules that governs the group when the usual rules have no answer.

However, according to DANSA [8] , Ramos called a conflicting meeting at a different Luby’s location, despite the fact that it broke party rules. DANSA reacted by organizing the Rally for Resignation, a sidewalk protest outside of the Luby’s location of the conflicting meeting. About four television stations and two print media sources covered the rally’s 30 or so attendees (some of whom drove from Austin and Houston), which demonstrated to the San Antonio community that the forces against Ramos were building with each successive week over which he refused to resign.

The CEC meeting held at the Main St. location of Luby’s Cafeteria resulted in a vote to bring Ramos to trial by the party for his neglect. That trial took place at the Metropolitan Community Church on April 16th and ended with a unanimous guilty verdict [9] by the trial committee; however, because of the way in which the trial was announced, the verdict could not take official effect and instead acted as a recommendation by the trial committee to the BCDP CEC.

The CEC announced another meeting for May 3rd to take an official vote for the removal of Dan Ramos with a majority quorum. The CEC has not had a majority quorum since 2009, and thus would be a monumental occasion if the vote actually takes place.

A Conversation with Ramsey Muniz

From the Cross to the Dungeons of America

by Raul Garcia

As I prepared to visit Ramsey Muniz, a political prisoner for the last 17 years, I thought about the many years we have known each other. In fact, we go all the way back to high school and university days.

Though each visit through the years has been educational and inspirational, there seemed to be something different and special about this visit. We had scheduled the visit for April 22, 2011 without my realizing it would fall on Good Friday. Maybe that’s the reason why as I dressed that morning there seemed to be an invisible hand guiding me toward my black clothing, a symbolic color of what happened on Good Friday in 33 A.D.

When I saw Ramsey and we sat down he said to me: “Do you realize today is Good Friday, the day Jesus Christ was crucified”? I knew then that this visit would be different because on close reflection I realized that prison is like being in what the Hebrews called “Golgotha” and Latin Rome called “Calvary”, a place to suffer and die. All over the world, including America, the Christ is being crucified, particularly the innocent ones who are thrown along with the criminals and crucified along with the Christ.

Ramsey believes that the arrest of Jesus was a political event, given that the Roman Empire felt threatened by a young revolutionary who would say, “It has been said of old, but I say unto you……” The Jesus movement had grown so big, that a new direction, a new vision, a new ethic was coming out of the firy lips of Jesus. The authorities had to get rid of him, so they monitored him wherever he went.

Muniz feels that his own arrest was also a political event in order to silence the leaders of the Chicano movement. Reies Lopez Tijerina, a leader of the Land Grant Alliance in New Mexico, once said to me that authorities were always monitoring leaders of “El Movimiento”. He showed me evidence which he obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Let us also keep in mind that Jesus was betrayed by some of his closest followers, some for money, others because their egos mattered to them more than the One who had come to speak in the name of justice. Yes, justice is also a form of salvation, both individual and social. Muniz feels that he, like Christ, was betrayed as the years went by, as the silence of some who were close to him during the movement ran scared, like the followers of Jesus who ran scared and hid in and around Jerusalem.

It was Mary Magdalene to whom Jesus appeared first after the Resurrection, she whom Jesus loved the most, and in whom he entrusted his deepest secrets which not even the disciples were privy to. Yes, she rallied the doubters, the scared, the deniers. It is no accident that Ramsey’s wife, Irma, has suffered all these years along with her husband, for she knows him like no one else does and has worked tirelessly in his behalf.

Ramsey said to me that he now understands the agony of the Christ on the cross, an agony that is so profound that it pierces the heart of the soul. He understands, he says, why even Jesus felt abandoned on the cross. Jesus, he says, was a thoroughly pure man, made pure through suffering and sacrifice. To which I added that perhaps that is the reason why we can also see Jesus’ divinity, in the strength of his humanity made pure through the holiness of suffering and sacrifice.

But just as Jesus forgave those who denied him and did him wrong, so does Ramsey forgive those who have accused him of a crime he did not commit. In the end, Jesus was given a death sentence just like Socrates. Jesus for rasiing the standard of love and holiness in a world intoxicated with wars, violence, and racism, while Socrates for raising the standard of intellectual freedom and tolerance. Ramsey believes that he has also been sentenced to death by having him sent to life in prison without any possibility of parole.

After our theological conversation Ramsey touched on other matters. He said he’d been thinking of Cesar Chavez, the great civil rights leader. He was remembering the day when Chavez told him that La Raza was no longer afraid, that the people would no longer hold back and would speak without fear, and that the future was ours.

Tez says that we need to reach the young, for they appear to be clueless about our history and of what is going on in the world. There is no excuse for this, given the power of the Internet as a vehicle for research and communication. In fact, Tez has come to view the great importance of the technological revolution in communication. I mentioned to him that this is how the Zapatistas in Chiapas had gained world support, through the power of computerized technological modern forms of communication. The young, he says, must become experts, masters, of this technology, and those of us in the field of education must emphasize this to them.

Tez says that history is on our side, that the rising speed of the growing raza population is overhelming the centers of power, for they know not how to handle us other than by passing more and more irrational and silly laws. When Ramsey says that history is on our side, I keep thinking of the great prince Cuauhtemoc who rallied the Aztecs when the Sun seemed to be in an eclipse, and though defeated temporarily, he prophesied that the people of the Sixth Sun would rise again!

Finally, before we ended the visit, my friend of 50 years asked that we pray, which we did. We had visited on Good Friday, the day of the crucifixation of Christ. But we both knew that histsory does not end with the crucifixion, that it does not end with a tear or with suffering, for there is always an Easter, always a day of freedom and joy.