I’mmmmm BACK! Yes, after a long absence I’ve decided to resurrect this column and attempt to tantalize my dear readers with some, I hope, insightful commentary on Latino political and cultural life. So, here we go…

First of all, this year marks 40 years of El Tecolote. I must humbly say this is an unheard of feat considering that the newspaper continues to rely on volunteers and a tiny array of funding sources. Likewise, we still remain committed to mirror life in the Mission and to crusade for political, economic and cultural justice for our people. In the coming months you’ll be hearing about planned celebrations and a year-long campaign to raise $40,000. We coined it “40 for 40.”

This is a call to solicit donations of $40 from our loyal supporters for our 40 years of service to this community. If the urge strikes you to make that gift now, you can cut a check to Acción Latina and drop it in the mail to 2958-24th St., S.F., Ca. 94110. By the way, your gift is tax-deductible. It’s a win-win situation – you support community journalism and you also get a tax break. What a deal!

To kick-off the new year and a new decade let me look into my crystal ball and see what madness lies ahead. First of all here’s no question that the economy will continue to stagger along and the politicians will continue to cutback on social services and education. This means our continued vigilance in fighting against such cuts and demanding that corporate America and the wealthy assume more of the burden – they’ve gotten tax breaks for years and even recent stimulus funds from our government. Now it’s pay back time to help save the nation.

On another front, activism in the Mission remains a positive characteristic of this community. We see our youth fighting for educational opportunities and for peace on the streets. We see housing activists challenging City Hall against development plans that will displace Latinos. We see tenant rights activists demanding rent control and no eviction policies. We see immigrant rights activists fighting to protect day laborers. We see health activists challenging plans to cut back on health services. We see cultural activists pressuring City Hall to support the cultural arts in our community. There’s no doubt that the Mission is a hot bed of activists, and that’s a blessing. Without them, the Mission would be a far different community today—maybe not a community at all, just a hospice for downtown white-collar workers. But with this in mind, there is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of fights to be had. ¡La lucha continúa!

Lastly, I want to update you on the first-ever documentary film being produced that will chronicle the history and impact of the Spanish-language press in the U.S. There is now a 15-minute pilot of the film that is titled “Voices for Justice: The Enduring Legacy of the Latino Press in the U.S.” It is hoped that the 30-minute documentary will be completed this year. To date, it has been well received at university and Latino media conference showings. But, we need additional funds. If you want to help support this project, but would like to check out the pilot first, let me know – just email me at accionjg@aol.com to make arrangements for a showing.

Until next time, keep this in mind: “Evil happens when good men and good women do nothing.”