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Old 11-30-2005
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Default Artist to students: Remember your roots

Comment: This guy was a big influence in my life. Back in the day, I use to be known to him as the Cookie Monster (I was addicted to cookies.), but now he knows me as the Scholar. He taught me many things for example about the "jaguares". There was a time we thought we could've lost him a few years back. Luckily, he's healthy and doing what he's good at doing: influencing the youth.

http://www.mercedsun-star.com/local/...12269538c.html

Artist to students: Remember your roots

Poet laureate spends afternoon at UC Merced

Jose Montoya, graphic artist, musician, Chicano activist and former Sacramento poet laureate, spoke to University of California, Merced, students about his life and read his poetry Monday afternoon.

By Rosalio Ahumada
RAHUMADA@MERCEDSUN-STAR.COM

Last Updated: November 29, 2005, 06:35:37 AM PST

The status of poet laureate and speaking at Yale University have not detached Jose Montoya from his Chicano culture or family upbringing.
The 74-year-old poet, graphic artist, musician and community activist hopes Latino college students do the same.

"It doesn't matter how glittery the university makes us," Montoya said. "We still come from the labor camps, and we still come from the barrios that are still under siege."

He spent Monday afternoon speaking to about 20 University of California, Merced, students on campus about his work and the journey that led him to be the first Latino selected by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Council as the city's poet laureate.

Montoya's appearance was the fourth in a series of five guest lectures on Chicano literature at UC Merced, said Manuel Martin-Rodriguez, a professor in Chicano literature.

"We're really in the presence of one of the founding members of the Chicano literary movement," said Martin-Rodriguez to the students. "His influence has been remarkable."

Montoya is a founding member of the Rebel Chicano Art Front, also known as the Royal Chicano Air Force.

The group is an artistic collective based in Sacramento and founded in 1969 to express the goals of Chicano civil rights and the labor organizing movement of the United Farm Workers.

Although Heidi Kang is a transfer student from Sacramento, the 22-year-old psychology student was first introduced to Montoya's work in her literature class at the new campus.

"I really enjoyed listening to him read the poetry," Kang said. "You kind of get the flow of the words."

Montoya tries to inspire college students to maintain that "thread of struggle" with the community instead of just searching for the high-paying jobs, he said.

"It's not about agitation, organizing and bringing about change anymore," Montoya said of the academic world. "It's about getting your degree and getting a job."

Wearing a pin-striped vest and a dark-brown pachuco style hat with UFW buttons, Montoya mixes Chicano street slang into his poetry.

He said it's this personal style that produces vivid imagery and breaks down any preconceived barriers, especially from college students.

"You could be stellar role models for those kids in the barrio, who don't have much to look forward to," he said to the students.

It was that community activism Montoya displayed as a new professor at California State University, Sacramento, where he worked as an art teacher for 27 years.

He spoke of establishing art courses for elementary and high school students in Latino neighborhoods and hoped to inspire Merced community members to do the same.

The poet also spoke at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center on Monday evening.

"That's how we got started. We started in the barrios," Montoya said. "That last thing we wanted to do was disconnect from our community."

Reporter Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at 385-2477 or rahumada@mercedsun-star.com.
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Old 09-26-2013
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Default Re: Artist to students: Remember your roots

bump
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Old 10-03-2013
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Default Re: Artist to students: Remember your roots

He passed away recently didn't he? He sounded like a very cool dude. and would have liked to chat with him about stuff. RIP
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Old 10-03-2013
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Default Re: Artist to students: Remember your roots

Yeah. I have a whole thread on soy about him:

http://www.soychicano.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11004

I met him a few times in my life during my teenage years. I would say the way I approach history is mostly bc of him.
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