When I heard of Dr. Vicente Ximenes’ passing and was subsequently asked to write this memorial I was at first honored and then humbled. He meant so much to the movement, to my work as a scholar of color, to Albuquerque and to the Chicano community. I have struggled to write this memorial because how do you honor a man with such a legacy.
In 2012, when I received the Vicente Ximenes Scholarship in Public Rhetoric and Civic Literacy I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Ximenes. I related to him that as a single mother and a Latina with limited funds, the money I received meant the word to me but more than that with this scholarship I would dedicate my work on several research projects with Ximenes’ legacy in mind. The work he did was revolutionary and people like me wouldn't be in doctoral programs without the things he did so many years ago. It was and still is an act of defiance for people of color to contribute to academia.
This past weekend I attended the Conference on College Composition and Communication where I presented a chapter of my dissertation titled Multilingual Writers and the Ruling Voice: Constructions of Race, Ethnicity, and Citizenship in the DREAM Act. It was during the discussions that followed this presentation and the meeting with the Latino Caucus that I realized how to frame this memorial to Dr. Ximenes. We are still a misunderstood and underrepresented people. We still need to mobilize. And so in death as in life Dr. Ximenes is our abuelito. He is our voice and our passion and as part of a community of Chicanos, Latinos, and Indigenous gente he symbolizes the struggle. He will be missed because of his work but also because he is part of a collective conscious of Latinidad and Chicanismos. One soul has passed but the struggle continues.