The Chicano (or Latino or Hispanic) Renaissance taking place in the Rio Grande Valley is no illusion. The concept is not of my authorship. I have heard several prominent, important people involved in the arts and literary circles refer to what is happening here as the “Chicano Renaissance”. Don’t let the word “Chicano” turn you off. As part of the Coalition of New Chicano Artists (CONCA) my colleagues and I attempt to broaden the parameters of this term to include any and all who come from a similar background of indigenous American ancestry and European influence.

What makes up the Chicano Renaissance is a very palpable surge of creativity and venues for artistic expression throughout the Rio Grande Valley…

Follow this link to read the rest of this article: The Raving Press

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Book Fest in the News

Posted: September 30, 2014 by conca1 in Uncategorized

In the paper

Image  —  Posted: September 11, 2014 by conca1 in Uncategorized
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The Raving Press, an independent entity, will be publishing

Lost: Children of the River

This is a chapbook anthology about the humanitarian crisis of children crossing the border alone and arriving in the Rio Grande Valley. More people need to hear about this. Art is a great medium to tell this story.

Funds will cover production, materials, work hours and distribution costs. The chapbook anthology will be free for the public. The amount of copies will depend on funds available.

We seek:

Poets – Submit up to two pieces of no more than 42 lines per poem for consideration on this topic only.

Prose writers – Anyone covering this topic in one essay of no more than 400 words. Opinion or research based pieces are eligible.

Interviews – Anyone writing a piece based on an interview with a child immigrant, or any person involved in this current situation on the border. It can be someone involved in the relief effort; specifically, someone with insight into the matter.

Photographers – Submit up to three photos of children refugees, relief workers, the Rio Grande river; locations around the Valley: international bridges, key buildings, highways, citizenry en masse or individuals up close.

Space will be limited, so only a select few will be chosen. Spanish and spanglish submissions are also welcome.

Submission deadline: September 30

Send entries for consideration to theravingpress@gmail.com

Call Gabriel H. Sanchez for more information at (956) 328-3267

Visit our FUNDING page.

Sin Fronteras Independent Book Festival

Posted: August 27, 2014 by conca1 in Uncategorized

CONCA Will be Hosting our First Book Festival!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

In collaboration with the city of San Benito, the Narcisso Center, UT-Brownsville, UTPA M.A.S., and the Valley Writers Forum

Register your publishing company,

book store or other publishing organization now for space at this important event.

First table will be provided free of charge.

Additional tables available at $50.00 each.

Click on the link below to register today!

Get me a FREE table!

CONCA Members pose for picture with the UPBC Champ Celina A. Gomez

CONCA Members pose for picture with the UPBC Champ Celina A. Gomez

August 17, 2014

McAllen, Tx: Last night CONCA celebrated the creation and success of its event called the Ultimate Poetry Boxing Championship (UPBC) by sponsoring the second UPBC hosted by Raquel Hinojosa of Hinovations Art Studio in McAllen, Tx. Poets from all over Texas signed up for the competition and some made the trip simply to be in the audience witnessing this unique event. The contestants were Edward Vidaurre, Diana Elizondo, Raquel Lopez, Judith Luna, Ronnie Garza, Corey Mangan, Juan Perez, and Celina A. Gomez. The bouts were intense, with every poet striking a singular rhythm and style that is of championship quality in their own right. But after all things were said and done, judges Amalia Leticia Ortiz, Priscilla Celina Suarez, and Nayelli Barrios (with the assistance of the crowd in a “sudden death” round) determined the winner of the competition to be Celina A. Gomez from Edinburg, Tx.

To present the award of an authentic UPBC champion belt hand crafted by artist Corina Carmona from Alamo, Tx. was none other than last year’s UPBC winner Amalia Leticia Ortiz from Harlingen, Tx. In her acceptance speech Celina stated in part:

“Thank you very much for supporting poetry and the arts. And please make sure to continue to support the arts. We don’t want it to die. I’m here to let everybody know that it’s very alive in the Valley…”

The event was refereed by local South Texas writer, poet, arts advocate and legendary badass from Shiner, Tx. Mr. P.W. Covington. The event was jolted during the intermissions by entertainers including CEROUNO Grupo Artistico from Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, who performed a choreographed dance routine that wowed the audiences with the charisma and physicality of an NFL halftime show. Also to the stage to contribute aesthetically to the auditory and visual senses by singing and playing two songs on his own guitar came Kip Austin Hinton, a professor at the University of Texas at Brownsville in Brownsville, Texas.

We wish to thank all the people and organizations that helped make this event a reality and hope to count on you next year for CONCA’s 3rd Ultimate Poetry Boxing Championship.

About CONCA: CONCA is a Rio Grande Valley non-profit organization promoting cultural awareness and pride in our collective histories as Americans. They achieve this through the employment of discussion forums through social media, literary endeavors such as creative writing, poetry, essays, poetry readings, and presentations at conferences, as well as public spaces like libraries, public schools and colleges.

For more information please continue to visit or subscribe to this page. You can also visit and like our page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/concavoices/

Go and drop us a line or comment here.

Thank you.

Gabriel H. Sanchez,

CONCA Director of Public Relations

Undocumented Dissonance

Posted: July 9, 2014 by conca1 in Uncategorized

Undocumented Dissonance

By Gabriel H. Sanchez

I shared a link on my wall on Facebook a couple of days ago. My caption read: “Armed anti-government groups vs. unarmed, undocumented, unprotected people out in the middle of nowhere. Recepie for tragedy? I think so.” This was one of the responses to my caption by another Facebook user:

“Unarmed? Not true some are known gang or cartel members even some potential terrorists. Undocumented? Is that the political correct word now a days. And if they are are unprotected and in the middle of nowhere well they put themselves in that situation. Before you bring up the poor kids please realize that a lot of these kids are being stolen or rented so these people can stay in the U.S. I see a whole bunch of people blabbering about the poor illegals but no one does anything for them. I dont see them oppenin their doors or feeding these people. They’re just hopping to get their way and let everyone else foot the bill. Lets be realists. Now president dumbshit asks for 3.6 billion to help in the “humanitarian crisis” after raising the national debt to more that 6 trillion. We need help here. Americans need help first. I have veteran friends that need to wait almost four months for the damn VA but its ok becouse we can help everyone else first…”

I decided to respond to this comment, not because it says anything new, (it is pretty standard anti-immigrant rhetoric you hear on certain cable channels and radio talk shows). I decided to respond because I think it may be a reflection of a widespread misunderstanding of the current humanitarian crisis that is occurring right here in our border communities. That, and also that it was a comment made by someone who has directly benefitted from immigration because some in his immediate family came from Mexico.

“Gang and cartel members”:

No one is arguing for us to let criminals into the country. You wrongly conflate the vast majority of immigrants who just seek an opportunity for a better life with those whose intent is criminally driven.

“Potential Terrorists”

Where is your evidence that some are even potential terrorists? Who determines when someone crosses the line between “potential terrorist” to simply terrorist? Of course, we need to employ all means to protect ourselves from criminals and evil-doers. But to point to terrorism as an argument to seal the border and alarm people about the current wave of immigrants arriving at our border with Mexico is misguided. 9/11 was used as an excuse to build a wall along our border, but in fact, the 9/11 terrorists didn’t come illegally. They had visas.

Political correct

To call someone undocumented serves to segregate the two ideas that you erroneously combined. Again, one set of people are refugees/immigrants seeking asylum or an opportunity to improve their lot in life. The other set (a tiny fraction of the number of undocumented people) are the gang/cartel members. Undocumented immigrants have the right to be treated as people, with the dignity they deserve, even if some have to be turned back to their respective countries. We have the means, hands and technology to seek out and deport any and all immigrants who have a criminal background or engage in criminal activity. For those there should be no chances to remain.

They put themselves in that situation

That they put themselves in such dangerous situations simply for the chance at possibly reaching the U.S. speaks volumes of the level of danger, staggering poverty, and limited options or opportunities that exist in their homelands. Therefore, they should be helped out. At the very least we should help them survive even if in the end they will be sent back. It is inhumane to see people suffering and idly stand by without offering assistance. Beyond that, it is just evil to see people suffering and contribute or increase their pain by talking about them, or treating them as criminals or sub-humans.

The poor kids

The fact that human trafficking occurs should make you realize that this crisis should be addressed quickly and in a humane fashion, not convince you that you should turn a blind eye and simply not “bring up the poor kids”. You contribute nothing in that way. You said you see a lot of people “blabbering” about the kids, yet they do nothing for them, but what do you propose? To ignore them? Then didn’t you just blabber about the kids without helping them, as well?

I don’t advocate for the people of our country to become the ones who have to foot “the bill”. You need to realize that one of the reasons that you and I are able to have the luxury of carnes asadas (grilling meat) on the weekends and cheap fruit, vegetables and fast food is because there are immigrants out in the fields working for little pay and almost no benefits that you or I receive from a worker-employer relationship. Maybe you should check out some stats which point to a positive, not negative, contribution by immigrants before listening to hate-filled, anti-immigrant rhetoric.

President dumbshit

Do you really think that insulting a person contributes positively toward solutions when there are problems being addressed by differing views? It doesn’t. It serves only to aggravate. In other words, it makes the problem bigger. (Not to mention that it is a terrible sign of disrespect for the office of the president and for the man’s place in our history.)

The deficit is in such a shape because we have been through two different wars in just one decade, coupled with a debilitating recession. The fact that the VA is inefficient is because it is a broken agency and very few if any politicians even want to sit down and fix it. Instead they engage in partisan speech to rile their bases on easy topics like anti-immigration. Immigration, like the VA, is also a matter that needs to be addressed and fixed, but so far some in congress would rather ignore the problem instead of actually sitting down and passing immigration reform.

Americans should always come first. But what you need to realize is that this situation that we are witnessing is about a multitude of children refugees who are seeking help because some nations in Central America have the highest rates of violence and murder, drug trafficking, human trafficking, etc. I think deep down you can understand that this is different than just a matter of simple illegal crossings. Let’s give these kids and their families at the very least the dignity of telling their story.  And if the case is that they are fleeing a warzone, then let us help them escape. Because simply opting to close the door and send them back is in some cases tantamount to issuing their death sentence.

You and I, like every citizen of the United States have benefited from the opportunity to come to this place and call it home. America was built by immigrants. You, our parents, and I have much in common with our first Commander-in-Chief (whom I would never refer to as a dumbshit), President George Washington: he, as well as you and I, are the product of immigration. To cut off the chance for people to come into our country is to shut off the potential for growth and improvement from the contributions of labor and ideas that new immigrants bring.