Me and two of my sisters: Cecilia and Teresa

My personal experiences construct new knowledge. My positionality and reflections of living in the borderlands have led me to this moment.

There are few moments in my childhood that have gone unforgotten; they have served as a collection of memories that helped me understand the depths of socio-economic and racial disparities, but also of music, laughter and curiosity. My neighborhood, appropriately named Chihuahuita was/is the barrio of Alamogordo, NM where many houses continue to age and deteriorate without much effort to revitalize. Alamogordo is like any other border zone community, a colonized space dripping in military culture. Not coincidentally, it was because of the military that my parents met each other. My mom left Ciudad Juárez when she learned about job opportunities at Holloman Air Force Base. My dad, a former Army soldier, worked in maintenance and was watering lawns when he saw my mom pass by—the rest was history.

My mother often experienced discrimination even from local Chicanos close to home. I recall a cold night in the parking lot of a hobby store when a woman had been sitting in the car parked next to us. I sat in the back of the family Ford LTD and hastily opened the door scratching the car next to us. Angrily, the woman approached my mother, made note of her husband’s military ranking and basically threatened to assault my mom, hurled insults about the old car and about me. Confused and not knowing what to do, mom jumped back in the car and drove us to the police station. She calmed down, collected her thoughts and gave the officer the woman’s license plate number. The officer took our information and showed us to the door. I was young but I started making sense of this crazy world.  

Published by artedemontoya

Artist, educator and activist living in the Texas/New Mexico/Chihuahua tri-state area.

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