Immaculate Immigrant 4
Virgin of Guadalupe



Virgin Mary Guadalupe Oracion de un DanzanteAnother Guadalupan community, Lincoln Heights, staged annual processions in the parish with floats and beautiful portrayals of the apparitions. Hortensia Guerrero admired the "Matachines (also known as Danzantes) singing, dancing and chanting their form of prayer in their beautiful native attire."

Lalo García, danzante, artist, and muralist, completed an art piece available in Los Angeles (1990s) with her image and Indians dancing in prayer. The Cherubs are crowning her with a cross superimposed on a Penacho, an Aztec headpiece. García emphasized, "Through her, through the dancers, the word of Christ, Catholicism is spread."


GUADALUPE TONANTZIN,
TU QUE NOS COMPRENDITES
Y NOS LLENATES DE AMOR
VENIMOS TODOS TUS HIJOS
A PEDIR TU VENDICION
ASI COMO UNOS TE REZAN
O TE OFRECEN SU CANCION
RECIBE PUES NUESTRA DANZA
COMO PROFUNDA ORACION
TONANTZIN GUADALUPE,
YOU WHO UNDERSTOOD US
AND FILLED US WITH LOVE
WE YOUR CHILDREN COME
TO ASK FOR YOUR BLESSING
JUST AS SOME PRAY TO YOU
OR OFFER YOU THEIR SONG
ACCEPT OUR DANCE AS
OUR MOST PROFOUND PRAYER


In Los Angeles the Virgin of Guadalupe has served as a mediator for such diverse groups as the United Farmworkers in their on-going struggle in the fields; Católicos por la Raza (1960s) marching against a Catholic hierarchy who they felt had abandoned its Mexican flock, and the Chicano Civil Rights Movement (1970s).

This ran parallel to a growing consciousness in the Mexican American community's desire to participate equally in American society. The Virgin of Guadalupe became the core symbol leading their struggle.

In the spring of 1966, Dolores Huerta and César Chávez would lead 100 farmworkers through the San Joaquin Valley to educate and gather support for the striking Filipino and Mexican grape workers and for the first grape boycott, a 343-mile pilgrimage. The Virgin of Guadalupe's image led this march and every march thereafter. Chávez would eventually fast several times in his life. Three fasts lasted over 20 days. His longest fast (1988) lasted 36 days. Chávez believed that,

It's not done out of recklessness . . . [or] a desire to destroy yourself, but it's done out of a deep conviction that we can communicate with people, either those who are for us or against us, faster and more effectively, spiritually, [by fasting] than we can in any other way.


Virgin Mary Guadalupe Cesar ChavezAs the country became more and more conscientiously disapproving of the Vietnam War, Chicanos protested against both it and the disproportionate number of Mexican Americans fighting in that war. On August 29, 1970, the National Chicano Moratorium march was held in Los Angeles. It was supported by 30,000 people marching in East Los Angeles, the largest anti-Vietnam War demonstration ever held in Los Angeles. Rosalio Muñoz, former UCLA Student Body President, was one of the main organizers of the event, and he remembers that "She [the Virgin of Guadalupe] was there."

Virgin Mary Guadalupe Resurrection of the Green PlanetA "spiritual renaissance" emerged artists poured out their heart and talent manifesting their love for the Virgin and their culture in murals and other art forms. Ernesto de la Loza, muralist, first became aware of the Virgin of Guadalupe because of the murals in Boyle Heights and his participation in the Chicano Moratorium. The "accidental" killing of Ruben Salazar, Mexican American journalist, at the moratorium, changed his life forever. Loza said he "took to the streets and started painting murals, and never stopped." His mural, "Resurrection of the Green Planet," is personal in that it recognizes his family's great respect for his grandmother. She is center stage, a medicine woman, folk healer/curandera standing in the light of the Virgin of Guadalupe's aureole. The roses that Juan Diego gathered on barren Tepeyac Hill frame the child going into the planet earth. The woman with the flowing dark hair to the left of the healer is an indigenous woman. "It is actually Malinche . . . Hiawatha . . . or Pocahantas," Loza explained. To the left is a "great loss," a man who could not find his way. The reclining woman to the right of the healer is holding a timeless piece, "a baptismal [font], cleansing and flowing - a purification." The water flows downward to embrace the "mermaid who represents the newly arrived, the immigrant, the street vendor. The bucket of water she is holding brings something refreshing and new in a pure state." Loza continued to describe the top head above the mermaid surrounded by an eternal flow of energy inside, the yin yang, the positive and negative forces. There are microscopic germs and cells, man's hand and technology, "modern medicine combined with faith healers." The calaveras, cactus, and pottery memorialize Mexican art. The Virgin of Guadalupe instills in Loza "a sense of pride, and a conviction to seek the truth."

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