04/06/2012 02:39 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

I Am Joaquin Luna: A Reminder of the Rodolfo Corky Gonzales Poem

Rodolfo Corky penned a controversial poem that reminds Chicanos (Mexican Americans) today of our own fellow brother who took his life -- Joaquin Luna.

Joaquin was a DREAMer who committed suicide because he felt he had no other option and on Monday, April 2, 2012, the Minority Affairs Council hosted a vigil in remembrance of Joaquin Luna. While our hearts mourn with those marching for Trayvon in Florida, we are reminded of Joaquin at the vigil in the southwestern part of our country.

An excerpt of the poem Rodolfo Corky Gonzales wrote in the 1960s:

I Am Joaquin

Yo soy Joaquín,
perdido en un mundo de confusión:
I am Joaquín, lost in a world of confusion,
caught up in the whirl of a gringo society,
confused by the rules, scorned by attitudes,
suppressed by manipulation, and destroyed by modern society.
My fathers have lost the economic battle
and won the struggle of cultural survival.
And now! I must choose between the paradox of
victory of the spirit, despite physical hunger,
or to exist in the grasp of American social neurosis,
sterilization of the soul and a full stomach.
Yes, I have come a long way to nowhere,
unwillingly dragged by that monstrous, technical,
industrial giant called Progress and Anglo success....
I look at myself.
I watch my brothers.
I shed tears of sorrow. I sow seeds of hate.
I withdraw to the safety within the circle of life --

Why did Corky choose the name "Joaquin"?

Was it a premonition?

Was Corky accurate when he said our fathers have lost the economic battle?

Perhaps not.

All we know is what we are left with.

Republican capitalists have benefited from taking advantage of my people, building entire communities via construction and development projects that sustained the backbone of our country via competitive labor, right? Now some of these so-called Republicans such as GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, who come under the guise of being "capitalists," are in full support of self-deportation policies. In other words, these crony capitalist Republicans want to benefit from the competitive labor of immigrants, but then kick out the builders, construction workers, and the agricultural workers later on because they fear they will come out from the shadows of society and earn a voice to vote.

The Tequila Party Movement (female-led political counter-movement to Tea Party extremists, encouraging Latinos to vote for pro-legal immigrant politicians) was in full support of the Minority Affairs Council in their efforts to promote a vigil in memory of Joaquin Luna. We made a promise to Joaquin's family to never let his death go in vain, and Chicanas intend on marching with that battle cry. While Cuban-Americans such as Sen. Marco Rubio remember Elián González during their Florida election season cycles, the Mexican Americans will remember Joaquin Luna during the November 2012 elections in the greater part of the southwest.

The DREAM Act is an Act of kindness towards our youth, despite sham Latino organizations like Libertad, which is an affiliate of The Heritage Foundation, referring to the DREAM as a "nightmare." How dare the Heritage Foundation refer to fixing the broken immigration system as "amnesty"? What is their stance with regard to Cuban amnesty? Do they plan on using the Cuban-Americans as tools for now, since they have benefits under the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA)? Do they enjoy pitting Cubans against the Mexicans (which accounts for almost 70 percent of the Latino population), only to attack CAA at a later date? Sen. Marco Rubio (a convenient Hispanic) was one of those Senators who was against the DREAM Act, and kicked Mexicanos while we were down and out in Arizona after he showed his support for Arizona's draconian SB 1070 law. Now he is singing a new tune because it is an election year and he thinks Latinos are gullible enough to believe his lip service. Rubio must not have received the memo with regard to the information age and the power of social networking.

All it takes is one act of Congress to eliminate CAA.

Joaquin Luna was waiting for his DREAM to be fulfilled, but this talented young man (one of our own -- our baby) was not able to see it come into fruition. This bright young man was on a healthy course had these United States Senators voted in support of the DREAM Act in 2010, because Joaquin was accepted into ITT and Texas A&M and the University of Texas -- Pan American in Edinburg, Texas, and had high hopes. He was waiting...

Now we wait.

We wait for Tuesday, November 6, 2012, when we remember Joaquin Luna on election day ... because I AM JOAQUIN LUNA.

(Above: Family of Joaquin Luna holding a vigil in Edinburg, Texas on April 2, 2012. Left to Right -- Diyer Mendoza and his wife and mother of Joaquin Luna)

(Above: Students at Pan-American in Edinburg, Texas, read poems at Yo Soy Joaquin Luna event on April 2, 2012

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