Really interesting documentary screening today, Lansing. Check out the full press release from LLEAD and Rosa Morales below.
The Head of Joaquin Murrieta Coming to Michigan April 20
Provocative PBS Documentary Examines Lynchings of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Southwest U.S. in 1800s
For Immediate Release: Lansing
Contact: Mich.- LLEAD President Al Flores, C. (517) 515-9800
A new documentary about Mexican bandit-turned-folk-hero Joaquin Murrieta is coming to Lansing April 20, kicking off a Michigan 5-city screening tour. The Head of Joaquin Murrieta, a PBS documentary by director John J. Valadez is screening at Lansing Community College and Pantengill Academy. Both screenings will include panel discussions about the bloody chapters in U.S. history in 1850s southwest when hundreds of Mexicans and Mexican Americans were lynched, their property and land stolen.
The Michigan tour begins in Lansing on April 20 and continues April 21 in Holland, April 22 in Saginaw, April 23 in Detroit, and concludes April 25 in Grand Rapids. The tour is sponsored by Michigan Latino Leaders for the Enhancement of Advocacy and Development (Mich.-LLEAD), a new Michigan Latino civil rights, non-profit organization. Statewide sponsors include the Beckwith Constitutional Liberties Fund, the Michigan Dept. of Civil Rights, the Michigan Hispanic/Latino Commission, and Reg. 6 of the National Assoc. of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ).
The Lansing screenings kick-off Wed., April 20 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the LCC Board Room, Administration Bldg. at 610 N. Capitol Ave. That same evening Pattengill Academy Auditorium will also show the doc from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 626 Marshall St. Both screenings include post-film panel discussions with director Valadez and Q & A with audience members. The documentary is also scheduled to be screened at Michigan State University on April 22 at 11 a.m. at 120 Linton Hall. The DVD will also be on sale at all venues.
Mich.-LLEAD reps and noted educators will facilitate the discussions about a turbulent and violent period in American history.
“The Southwest territories become the spoils of war with Mexico,” says Juan Marinez, Lansing-LLEAD member . “These lands were not UN-populated, there were hundreds of thousands of people who resided in the present states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri.”
The present-day significance of racial violence, civil rights violations and injustices against Latinos, immigrants and others will also be discussed. Marinez says that in 2016 the questions continues to linger. “Those of us who look very Mexican continue to get asked: ‘Where are you from?’ Assuming that you just crossed the Rio Grande yesterday.”
“The peoples resided in these territories for several generations, as you may recall,” says Marinez, a history buff, “these lands were part of the Spanish crown. After the Mexican Revolution of 1810 they became Mexican, and after the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) these multiple generations of Spanish and Mexican people who had a culture, language, and religion ties to their former homeland when they became U.S. citizens.”
“LLEAD of Michigan brings to residents of the state, the opportunity to learn about a part of Latino history that has been untold, and finally, The Head of Joaquin Murrieta PBS film unveils this tragic, but enlightening story,” says Al Flores, Mich.-LLEAD president, who recently retired from the Mich. Dept. of Civil Rights.
In the 30-minute documentary, the director takes the viewer on a quixotic road trip to uncover the truth about the purported head and true story of the man who inspired the myth and legend of El Zorro. It’s a movie about the director’s journey to lay to rest this man’s head and finally put him at peace, and in so doing Valadez reveals the atrocious American truths about our history.
“It took me ten years to complete this film,” Valadez says. Valadez is a Peabody award-winning filmmaker. Murrieta is his 13th film. “Murrieta’s story is emblematic of the way history is appropriated by others and it’s challenging to decipher the myth vs. the man, the legend vs. the real history of the southwest.”
The truth very much lies in the long convoluted U.S. history with Mexico and the many thousands of citizens who resided in the Southwest and Midwest, who in some case can trace their ancestry long before the Pilgrims and those millions of immigrants who came via Ellis Island, adds Marinez.
“The Head of Joaquin Murrieta PBS film, the state tour, is but a sample of what can be accomplished, as LLEAD of Michigan continues its work toward the unification of Latinos in the state,” Flores said.
Michigan Latino Leaders for the Enhancement of Advocacy and Development Facebook link:
The DVD documentary is available for sale at all venues.