San Antonio/ Arts & Culture
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Published on May 16, 2024
San Antonio's MACRI Marks 5th Anniversary with Symposium on Mexican American Civil Rights HistorySource: Mexican American Civil Rights Institute

The Mexican American Civil Rights Institute (MACRI) is firing up the candles for its fifth anniversary with a mission to shed light on the oft-overlooked history of Mexican American civil rights movements. MACRI, centered in San Antonio, which isn't only serving up cake but also a healthy helping of history with a two-day symposium starting this Friday, as reported by FOX San Antonio. The celebration luncheon kicked things off Wednesday at the Westin San Antonio North, with future plans including a permanent museum to highlight the cause.

Feeling at home on the city's west side with a recently launched visitor center, MACRI is eying the completion of a site feasibility study for this pioneering museum dedicated to Mexican American civil rights history – a first in the nation. Amid keeping the struggles and contributions of the Latino communities under the limelight, it's crucial to mention that this uncharted narration of history is also a call to action described by Texas Public Radio as bringing to light the discriminatory practices faced by Latino communities in the '60s, including police brutality and school inequalities.

The not-so-small task of piecing this history together without a Mexican American studies degree, as MACRI's Executive Director Sarah Zenaida Gould pointed out, may leave many of us clueless unless we've heard it from our families. "I think it’s very revealing of the fact that many of us never learned this history in school," Gould candidly expressed in a statement obtained by Texas Public Radio. The symposium aims to fill such gaps with over two dozen guest speakers converging to revisit and envision the future of this historical chapter.

Aside from the academic tête-à-tête, MACRI is inviting the community to send in video messages sharing personal stories or memories related to the struggle for Mexican American civil rights. This interactive approach, as documented by Texas Public Radio, includes recollections of MACRI's early days, why San Antonio remains the institute's home base, and the cultural imperative of knowing this part of American history. Echoing through the halls of the Central Library and virtually through livestreams, these narratives are set to bridge generations. Registration, though not as fun as birthday parties, is encouraged for attendees.

With a nod to the past and an eye on the horizon, MACRI's weekend of reflection and anticipation is more than an anniversary celebration; it's an education for a city and potentially a nation, as we delve into the chapters of civil rights history that never made it to most school textbooks.