Message from Outgoing ALLA President

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Miguel Diaz-Barriga (U Texas-Pan American)


It has been a great two years. Allow me to highlight some of our accomplishments.

  • ALLA proposed that the next AAA public education initiative focus on immigration. Through a process that included consideration of a number of other proposals, the AAA executive board accepted ALLA’s proposal.
  • ALLA, in consultation with activist groups, authored resolutions on Pressing Immigration Issues and the DREAM Act.  These resolutions will serve as a foundation for expanding ALLA’s role in the national debate about issues confronting Latina/o communities.
  • ALLA increased its membership by 40% through a sustained membership drive.
  • ALLA transformed it governance structure by making changes in its bylaws that both streamline its organizational structure and clarify procedures.
  • ALLA expanded its public outreach through the creation of a dynamic webpage, that includes essays on the future of Latina/o anthropology, and the creation of a Facebook site.
  • ALLA participated in wider AAA section governance as well as awarded book prizes, engaged in conference programming and edited Anthropology News contributions.

Allow me, as a way of saying thank you, to recognize the various contributions of ALLA members.

Rocio Magaña, Program Chair for the 2012 AAA meeting, put together an outstanding program that included panels on pressing issues facing the Latina/o community, including border violence and immigration activism. Many of the panels that ALLA sponsored had the theme of decolonization, as applied both to our discipline and pedagogy, as well as to the current state of knowledge on immigration and border culture(s).  In addition, ALLA members Pat Zavella and Luis Plascencia organized an executive session for the 2012 meeting, “Re-assessing Borders, Borderlands, and Crossings: Latina/o Perspectives.”

Pablo Gonzalez and Santiago Guerra did outstanding work as co-editors of the ALLA Anthropology News column.  Santiago Guerra recently wrote a powerful piece that shows how discussions of race within the AAA are focused on Black-White relations, leaving out the Latina/o experience.  This is especially timely given the increased attention that the AAA is now placing on race and diversity within the discipline.

Mariela Nuñez-James authored ALLA’s resolution on the DREAM Act.  Her work on this resolution included consulting widely with organizations that support passage of the DREAM Act.  The ALLA board is now seeking comments from the memberships as it prepares to put the resolution up for a vote.

Sujey Vega has continued administrating our website.  The website has information about upcoming ALLA events, new books and publications by ALLA members, career opportunities and a wonderful set of essays on the future of Latina/o anthropology by Nicholas de Genova, Alejandro Lugo and Lynn Stephen.  If you have not done so please visit our website at www.aaanet.org/sections/alla.

ALLA Student Representative Carlos Martínez created a page for ALLA on Facebook, www.facebook.com/anthropolatina.  This page has given ALLA another outlet for announcing events and activities, including the annual meeting’s program, books and publications by members and news items that are of interest to Latina/o anthropologists.  The webpage went live on July 26, 2012, and now has over 400 “likes.”

Ana Aparacio, currently president-elect of ALLA, is one of the co-chairs of the next AAA public education initiative on immigration.  At our 2012 ALLA business meeting, Ana spoke about the overall goals of, and efforts to fund, the initiative.

Ramona Tenorio ably chaired the book committee which awarded this years prize to Alyshia Gálvez for her book, Patient Citizens, Immigrant Mothers: Mexican Women, Public Prenatal Care, and the Birth Weight Paradox (Rutgers University Press, 2011).  Elaine Adah Peña won honorable mention for her book, Performing Piety: Making Space Sacred with the Virgin of Guadalupe (University of California Press, 2011).  During the award presentation at the ALLA business meeting, James Taggart and Anna Ochoa O’Leary gave moving accounts of the academic and social importance of these books.

I am honored to have served as the president of ALLA over the last two years.  My special thanks to Luis Plascencia, now president of ALLA, and all members of the ALLA board whose innovative ideas and hard work have laid the foundation for expanding ALLA’s role in public anthropology.

Alex Chavez (U Illinois at Chicago) and Santiago Guerra (Colorado College) are contributing editors of ALLA’s AN column. Contributions to this column can be sent to them at alex.e.chavez.e@gmail.com and santiago.guerra@coloradocollege.edu.

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