Northern California Foco

2020 NCal Foco Conference


Engaging and Promoting Chicana/o/x Studies in California

March 14, 2020
California State University, Sacramento 

The conference theme of the 2020 Northern California NACCS Foco conference is “Engaging and Promoting Chicana/o/x Studies in California.” The conference theme addresses the current struggle to establish Ethnic Studies as a graduation requirement in California secondary and post-secondary education. Our goal is to promote awareness of – and critical engagement with – contemporary debates, policy proposals, and popular and scholarly discourses concerning Ethnic Studies and Chicana/o/x Studies.

Register: No cost but we need the count. Thanks.

Conference schedule forthcoming.

Chabot College
Saturday February 18, 2017
Event Center

Conference Program

9am         Welcome – Juan Pablo Mercado, Chabot College

9:15        NACCS for Beginners – Kathryn Blackmer Reyes, San José State University

10am        Panel 1 – Developing Strategies of Resistance

Barrio Expressions Public Access Television 1976-1985 a Community Studies Project: Lowriders, Barrio Life, Community Resistance and Political Action: Mika Valois, San José State University
Barrio Expressions was a public-access television show airing from 1976 to 1985 in Hayward, California. The show provided access to the political dynamics, resiliency and culturally rich lifestyles of the Latinos residing into greater Bay Area, countering the mainstream media’s portrayal of Latino youth as criminals. This paper will explore those involved in Barrio Expressions, and the community development that created such a historically political platform deeply rooted in social justice and political activism encompassing what it is to be Chicano and Chicana.

Developing Chicana Studies Public History Projects through Community Collaboration
: Margarita Garcia-Villa, San José State University
This presentation argues that public history is an opportunity for communities to reclaim their history and tell it truthfully from the perspective of the people who experienced it as well as a way to share that knowledge with multiple generations. Some of the guiding questions for this research include: What are the intentions of public historians when collaborating with the community? Are there some public history methods that the Chicana/o community are more engaged with? If so, why? What are the lessons learned for public historians and how will this guide their future work with the community?

“Illegal” Immigrants, “Illegal” Beings:  Identity, abjection, and resistance among undocumented immigrants in the U.S.: Heidy Sarabia Ph.D., and Rosa Barrientos, Sacramento State University
What does it mean to live as an undocumented immigrant in the United States? What does it mean to navigate between the narratives of citizenship and deservedness, and illegality and abjectivity?  This article explores the narratives published in the New York Times by and about undocumented immigrants to explore how the abjective status of undocumented migration has shifted to the question of criminality.  Using the stories shared by young undocumented immigrants publicly in the New York Times, after the election of Donald Trump, as well as the narratives used by politicians (like Trump), we analyze their narratives to explore what their stories reveal about identity, abjectivity, and resistance.  We argue that abjectivity and illegality has been effectively dislocated by young immigrants who have successfully challenged the construction of illegality as an abject status; yet, they have been much less successful in challenging the broader narrative about the necessity of policing the border. Thus, politicians have successfully shifted abjectivity from a question of illegality to a question of criminality.  Thus, recasting young immigrants as “American dreamers,” while maintaining the abject subject as an illegal and criminal subject.

11am        Panel 2 – A Spectrum of Institutionalized State Violence

The Forgotten Dead: The(In)Visibility of Latinx Violence in Post Racial America: Hortencia Jimenez, Ph.D.
Violence perpetuated against Latinxs by the state has deep roots perpetuated at the hands of civilian vigilantes, border patrol agents, and law enforcement officers like the Texas Rangers. Yet, the mainstream media renders brown bodies (in)visible in today's conversations about police violence and brutality. I revisit the historical legacy of policing and violence against Latinxs, the forgotten dead.

Albert Ponce, Ph.D.
The importation of Black bodies during the trans-Atlantic slave trade established the ground for a white supremacist political economy in the United States.  Rendering black human bodies as nothing above a thing, while extracting their labor placed race as central to the emergence of the modern political economic system.  How has the modern period created new periods of labor disposability?  This problematic advances a critical examination of the relationship between race and violence at the foundation of the U.S. nation-state institutions and society.  How does racial violence function in establishing the commodified disposability of Mexican and Latino migrant labor?  This paper contends that Mexican and Latino migrant laborers, as Black bodies before them are de-humanized through the production of racial violence which becomes naturalized and legitimated through law.

Travesura as Critique: Cristopher Vázquez Muñoz
Through a lens attentive to the significance of age in the enactment of power, Vázquez Muñoz’s presentation, "Travesura as Critique," offers an analysis of Carla Trujillo's What Night Brings: A Novel, in which he proposes a conceptualization of power as movement that enacts itself through repetition. The novel tells the story of a young Chicana, Marci, whose queer sexuality begins to flourish amidst the institutional violence of poverty, Catholicism, and heteronormative family scripts. In centering the point of view of a 12-year-old, the narrative addresses sexism and homophobia in ways that anchor age, and youth in particular, as a critical lens for socio-cultural interrogation.

12pm        Lunch Break

1pm        Panel 3- Leadership4Life: A College-Prison-Community Partnership

Hermelinda Rocha-Tabera, Anthony Sanchez, Phillip Tabera, and Nereida Oliva

As a response to the overrepresentation of people of color in prisons, a partnership between Hartnell College, Soledad State Prison, and Phoenix Alliance was created to provide students enrolled in an introductory Ethnic Studies course an opportunity to further and challenge their own understandings of mass incarceration, develop leadership skills, and build community by participating in Leadership4Life (L4L), a leadership development resource developed for not only for inmates but also for people outside of prison. L4L is a two-day series workshop facilitated by men who are incarcerated, hold Bachelor's and Master degrees in various fields that inform the structure, content, and delivery of the workshops and who have undergone extensive training to be able to facilitate such dialogues and workshops with students and other entities.

We present the outcomes of this partnership as a possibility to not only address and discuss mass incarceration but as also a way to (re)imagine transformative learning spaces and pedagogy built on love and compassion. Furthermore, this partnership seeks to build consciousness to help student leaders and activists contribute to and shift the discourse on mass incarceration. Ethnic Studies instructors, students, as well as workshops facilitators will share their thoughts and feelings about their experiences in participating in Leadership4Life.

2pm    Panel 4 - Love and War: Conversations and Perspectives By and For Chicanx, About Soldiers and Warriors

Martha O. Acevedo, Community Scholar & Activist; Felicia Rhapsody Lopez, UC Santa Barbara; Dolores Mondragon, UC Santa Barbara, Hermelinda Rocha, Hartnell College; Jessica Starks-Littlepage, San José State University

This unique roundtable of women will explore the culture and life of warriors, their families, their wives and their lives. From the nongendered lives of the Aztec warrior to the young wife of the soldier in the modern Middle Eastern wars, these women speak from the heart and soul of the life lived. The research interests of the academics of this roundtable range from the warrior culture of the Aztec and the scholarly view of war, to the research desentization of the current soldiers being deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. Presenters will examine the misconceptions about the Aztec Warrior culture. Further, Presenters will also review the complex sets of laws which are constructed to determine the life of the soldier during his or her service.  The anti-Vietnam war Movement of the Chicanx Movement opened the wounds of war and discrimination for families. The first-hand point of view of women veterans brings full circle the conversation of love and war, by and for women of color. This roundtable begins the healing conversations for warriors and their families.

3pm        NCal Foco Meeting – Frank Ortega, Ph.D., Diablo Valley College




NCal Foco Becas for AB540 Students

Deadline  May 4, 2008.

Scholarship Information and Application
The Northern California Foco of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) offers scholarship for AB540 students who are committed to furthering the well being of Chicanas and Chicanos. Applicants must be members of NACCS, be enrolled in a public accredited degree-granting institution and be AB540 immigrants of Chicana/o heritage .

The Northern California Foco Scholarship Fund was founded in 2000 to help Chicana and Chicano college students complete their education. The scholarships are available on a competitive basis for community college, four-year college, and graduate students.  Awards range from $100 to $500. The number and amount of scholarships vary depending upon applicants and availability of funds.

Eligibility checklist
__ Must be a current student member of NACCS.   
__ Must be an AB540 immigrant student of Chicana/o heritage.
__ Must reside in Northern California region.
__ Must be a full-time student in a Northern California public College or University.
__ Must be committed to the betterment of the Chicana and Chicano population as described in the NACCS preamble.

Questions? email

Click here for the application


Old news:

The NCal Foco Becas to AB540 student is now open. Deadline for submissions is May 11th. Submit your application today! To apply for the Beca click here To donate towards the Beca click here Student Scholarships: Here is a list from MALDEF.  SSNs not required.