There is a pillar at Lincoln Park that reads: "Que es Chicano...". That was a question I asked myself for many years, that is before I took Chicano classes, read books like Drink Cultura and watched many documentaries and movies.
I used to to be very conflicted on what to identify myself as. "Am I Hispanic? Latina? Chicana? What's the difference?" Soy Chicana, chingado! I was born in the U.S and my parents are Mexican. Why did it take me so long to figure it out? Sadly, in the U.S the education system does not encourage these Chicano teachings. (I will not go into detail about that). It wasn't until college that I learned learned about Chicanismo. I didn't major in Chicano Studies. I took Chicano classes because I was interested in the word Chicano and what it meant. I was never exposed to it growing up. Some Mexicans still look down upon that word since they relate it to Pachucos, Cholos, and gangs for some reason. I just think it's because of the lack of education on Chicanismo around the world, not just the United States and Mexico. There is so much that has been erased and some governments want to continue to erase, which is why taking Chicano classes or reading up on it is so important.
I remember when I met Dolores Huerta for the first time. I was filled with pride. She was the first Chicana I learned about. La mera mera. La jefa de jefas. (If you don't know who she is and what she did for the Farm Workers Movement then I recommend that you read up on that. There are many great books by Chicano authors that explain all of that.)
Now that it's 2018, I was reflecting on all the things I learned in 2017. A major thing about 2017 was meeting Dolores because my journey on Chicanismo has been an on-going thing throughout the years and that brings me to why I went to Lincoln Park. It's full of Chicano heritage. Even looking at the pillars fills one with pride and understanding. Seeing the Chicano eagle, Dolores with a sign reading "Huelga", Pachucos, the Mexican flag, and the American flag all at once is really beautiful. It's the "in-between" as I call it, la frontera.
"De donde soy?" My heart says I belong to both countries, but my papers say American Citizen. I belong to the world, I am human. Yo soy Chicana. "Yo soy Joaquin" y claro que se SI SE PUEDE!