Monday, October 6, 2008

An Eagle named Consuelo

An Eagle named Consuelo
By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

Not long ago, while preparing for the Law School Admission Test and while organizing against the relentless attacks against the Raza Studies Department – one day, Consuelo Aguilar woke up, barely able to speak. We all thought it was stress from studying for the test and stress from having to defend this educational program, administered by the Tucson Unified School District . Instead, after a series of medical examinations, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. All this – including her treatment – has taken place within the past few months. Her cancer has been much more aggressive than anyone could have imagined.
Consuelo Aguilar is a very special human being. In fact, I'd go so far as to say she is a gift to humanity. At the same time, this Tucson native is little different than lots of young women across the country. Young women and young men. She fights for dignity. She is from the school of young people who sacrifice their lives to bring about change… who fight and sacrifice to bring about peace, dignity and justice.
In that sense, young women and young men like her have always existed.It is they that have always made the great changes in history. In this particular case, she has made a great difference in Arizona - and really --to this very small world we live in.
Consuelo works for Raza Studies – the highly successful department that has been under siege by right-wing forces for years, particularly this past year – perhaps because Raza Studies teaches a story much more ancient and far different than the one about Columbus discovering America. Through the work of Agustine Romero, PhD., we know that the attacks have certainly nothing to do with academics as Raza Studies students consistently outperform and go to college at higher rates than all other students.
Consuelo is a graduate of the University of Arizona, long associated with Mexican American Studies, as a student and as a community representative. She too has long-been associated with MEChA –Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan – long the Achilles heel ofthe same forces who oppose Raza Studies. Yes, MEChA is the antithesis of hat-in-hand Mexicans that at one time accepted their humiliationand dehumanization.
While there is little doubt she is a warrior, I'd rather think of heras an eagle Рas her last name alludes to. There are few joys in life more precious than to see the flight of an eagle. She is like Cuauhtémoc (a Mexica resistor) Р'the eagle that descends'. She descends and ascends, but mostly, she soars. And like her first name,she also consoles.
Here are some words from one of her beloved mentors, UA ProfessorRaquel Rubio Goldsmith: "Consuelo is a joy to
any teacher. She brings not only her dedication to social justice, but
does so in a multi-faceted way. From her robust mariachi voice (yes she was a singer for a student mariachi band), to her elegant "chicana" taste in clothes,
her silent but energetic organizing talents to true belief in community rights,
she has been a gift to us in Mexican American Studies. Her Master's thesis
on the criminalization of immigrants isa testament to respect for scholarly
work as well as community needs."
And this from Maya Bernal, a 1st Year UA Student: "It is difficult toshare just a few words about such a wonderful mujer (woman). Consuelohas done so much for me and the community. She is constantly workingon events
for the lucha (struggle), projects with her students,droppin' knowledge and spreading
hope for our people to see better days. I have never known her to be doing
nothing, or even one task ata time. Where would any of the students,
teachers and this community be without Consuelo?
 Once she and her family have overcome this scratch on the CD known as life, she will be back leading the fight.The fight
for change, the fight for social justice, the fight for human rights, the fight
of the people.

Consuelo, I am grateful yous aw the potential in me to become somebody great."
I write this today, knowing that times nationwide are tough and that the nation and Tucson is divided. And yet, in times like this,we are reminded of our common humanity, our common stories and common narratives. Consuelo's life is precious and priceless. She will win.Her family will win. She has already won. What her family needs at this time are words and prayers from the community she fights for… the community she has sacrificed for and the community she represents.
Rodriguez, a research associate at the University of Arizona, can be reached at: XColumn@gmail.com

Contributions can be made directly into the Consuelo Aguilar Benefit Donation Fund at Wells Fargo via this account number:6988363328.

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