Cherrie Moraga: Still Loving in the War Years

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

I am the welder.
I understand the capacity of heat
to change the shape of things.
I am suited to work
within the realm of sparks
out of control.
I am the welder.
I am taking the power
into my own hands.
Cherrie Moraga delivered this year’s Rolando Hinojosa-
Smith Jr. Lecture, Still Loving in the War Years, sponsored
by the Latina and Latino Studies Program, at the UIUC,
last month. Moraga is a poet, playwright and essayist, and
the co-editor of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by
Radical Women of Color, the groundbreaking volume still
considered a touchstone literary contribution of the 20th
century, given its unapologetic focus on the issues of
women of color, including those of lesbian women who
struggle daily to contend with the triple stigma of racism,
sexism, and homophobia in their lives.
Moraga’s recent personal/political meditations respond
to the censored sites within trans/gender (queer) and
trans/national (immigrant) conversations. In these, she
stresses that as a Chicana lesbian who is at “the edge of
disappearance, who suffers from silence,” she is equally
passionate about what is going on with the silence of
queers of color, as she is with undocumented immigrants.
For example, this perspective is particularly salient to the
trafficking of sex and how this impacts poor undocumented
immigrants in the United States.
Through her work, Moraga embraces a multitude of
social ills equally. She insists
“this has to be the politics of
Chicano or Latino queer people.
We must have a very multiissued
approach… My feeling
sis that the more visibility we
have in our movement and the
more multi-issued we are in
work, the better ground there is
for building solidarity with others.”
Moreover, Moraga recognizes
that the persistence of
institutionalized homophobia
and heterosexism function as
the biggest obstacle for transgendered
people to create solidarity
with others across social concerns. In response, she
insists that queers of color must organize together around
common causes, speak out, and develop a strong political
platform and coalition approach. Only in this way, can
transgendered people of color find the support necessary to
not compromise themselves and to sustain both their personal
and collective struggles; “because alone you’re dead in
the water.”
Moraga is also the author of numerous plays including
Shadow of a Man and Watsonville: Some Place Not Here.
Both plays won the Fund for New American Plays Award in
1991 and 1995, respectively.
Heroes and Saints, another of
her plays, earned the Pen West
Award for Drama in 1992. Her
collected non-fiction writings
include: The Last Generation
(South End Press); a memoir,
Waiting in the Wings: Portrait
of a Queer Motherhood (Firebrand
Books); and, a new
expanded edition of the now
classic, Loving in the War
Years, republished in 2000.
Moraga is also a recipient of
the National Endowment for
the Arts’ Theatre Playwrights’
Fellowship and is currently Artist-in-Residence in the
Departments of Drama and Spanish & Portuguese at Stanford
An interview with Cherrie Moraga can be heard on the Liberacion!
broadcast on Monday, December 14, WEFT 90.1 FM

About Antonia Darder

Antonia Darder is a professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is a longtime Puerto Rican activist-scholar involved in issue's relating to education, language, immigrant workers, and women's rights.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.