LETTERS: Colorful history

The moon glows upon the Rio Grande Valley, gifting us her female energy and her blessing. Her reflection is a beautiful still life on the Rio Grande, el Rio Bravo.

It is Charro Days weekend; la luna lo sabe (the moon knows it).

Ella es testiga de la historia en esta tierra sagrada (She is witness to history in this sacred land) — tierra del rio que en sus manos lleva la corriente llena de historias, asi como la luna las lleva en su luz (whose hands carry a current of histories, just as the moon carries them in her light).

Ella es testiga de los siguientes sucesos (She is witness to the following events): 1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo defines the Rio Grande as the new dividing line between Mexico and the United States.

1900-1910: More than 187,000 acres of land are transferred from Tejano to Anglo hands in Cameron and Hidalgo counties.

1915: Texas Rangers invade the borderlands, killing thousands of Mexican people.

June 18, 1916: President Woodrow Wilson orders 110,000 National Guardsmen from state militias to militarize the borderlands.

1924: The U.S. Border Patrol is founded.

1930s: School segregation is a reality in the Rio Grande Valley. Mexican schools are a part of many communities in the region.

The vibrant colors mirror those of the bluebonnets, marigolds and ocean water.

Women’s dresses give homage to the different regions in Mexico, from la tierra Huasteca to la tierra Maya in the south.

The smell of food penetrates the neighborhood with scents of childhood and a reminder of our dual identity.

Charro Days is our duality, our complexity, and a call to reflect on who we are.

As we parade we wave our flags and adjust our headdresses. We stand on sacred land. A land that calls us to question, heal, reflect and learn about our past. The land that Gloria Anzaldua called

the Nepantla — a word meaning in between. In the case of the Valley, a world caught between two cultures and languages.

We have a responsibility to honor this history. To honor both the colorful and dark events in our timeline.

As Charro Days was created in celebrated back in 1937, Mexican kids were being segregated and placed in Mexican schools. Railroad tracks divided Anglo households from Mexican households. Jim Crow laws were still part of every sunrise and sunset in the Valley.

The parade runs through the same streets that once were host to the militarization of the border, an infiltration that intimidated and exerted power over Mexican people.

Are we dismissing this history and our current political context by giving space to groups that also play a military-like role in our scared land today?

What is our responsibility as citizens in the Valley, a lot of us with ties to Mexico, to history — to the spirit of place — to the stories of our borderlands?

I invite us all to think about how we can honor that history in these important cultural events that are now providing a learning space for our students, children and vulnerable minds to connect to a past. How can we provide a space for history and story in events such as Charro Days that have now become part of the hearts of many of us? Can we create a historical exhibit featuring key voices? What about portraying the reality that was happening as people celebrated the richness of Mexican culture? Can we have a conversation about being more mindful and purposeful in what is featured in our parade? Can we think about ways to teach our children about both the painful and beautiful parts of our stories? Can we dare to consider history and political context in an event that celebrates culture? Can culture ever stand alone?

La luna no miente (the moon does not lie). La luna seguirá siendo testiga de nuestra historia en estas tierras del Rio Bravo, el Río Grande (The moon will continue to be witness to the stories in the land of the Rio Grande).

Tania Torres, Edcouch