“Dr. Trinidad Gonzales then took the microphone and asked that any descendants of the Bandit Era victims stand and be recognized. About ten individuals did so. This alone was a very touching moment of the morning.”
“The stories told by these historians in this historical marker and their many published works are an important part of a larger story about the continued struggle for Texas Latinos, who have been fighting for equal rights since the founding of this state.”
“Belatedly, tentatively, Texas has begun to reckon with this bloody history. As election-year rhetoric around the border and Mexican immigration has reached new levels of xenophobia and racism, the state—goaded by a group of historians calling themselves Refusing to Forget—has taken steps toward commemoration of the period called “La Matanza”…For a state that has long refused to come to terms with those years…it’s something like progress, even if the legacy of this violence will require far more than exhibits to expiate.”
“Especially for communities along the border, they have memories, they have relatives–a grandparent, a cousin–somebody in their family history who was lynched. And to not have this story well-known is going to make dialogue about current issues–whether it’s about the police or politics or immigration…it’s going to be a stumbling block to productive discussion going forward.”
“In Mexican-American families throughout South and West Texas…memories about ‘violent things’ survived–despite suppressed documents, silenced history and burned bodies. At the Bullock these days, those memories have been given new voice.”
“Gonzales says the exhibit doesn’t portray those killed as victims — though it’s hard not to see them that way — and it isn’t a story of victimization. Some of it is hard to read. ‘It’s about people who endured the Texas Rangers’ atrocities, fought and survived for an equal place in society,’ he said. It may take a few years to get a traveling exhibit here, so it’s worth a trip.”
“La exhibición incluye artefactos antes no vistos que brindan un homenaje y retribución a los familiares de las víctimas; cuenta con documentación histórica sobre el gobierno americano, la situación de México durante la Revolución Mexicana y artefactos que señalan la perseverancia de la comunidad mexicana en Texas.”
Trinidad Gonzales, history instructor at South Texas College and Refusing to Forget member, “The fact that we have this marker is a way of the state finally acknowledging there’s some value in the lives of those who were killed.”
“This conference will serve as a cautionary tale that the rhetoric and portrayals of people of Mexican-origin as disposable, as half-citizen, as only good for labor, is very dangerous and can lead to violent moments in our lives,” said Sonia Hernandez.
“Led by a group of professors, the group hopes that in bringing public awareness to this often forgotten period we can also raise the profile of a struggle for justice and civil rights that continues to influence social relationships today. The first step is to reshape common understandings by commemorating this period…”
“These events today are largely known only by academics and the familial descendants of those killed,” Morán González says. “The group of historians that I am part of believe that it is time, on the occasion of the centennial of these events, to make this neglected story of Texas known to a wider public.”
“Today, you can’t win a Texas or national election without promising to “secure the border,” and protect the citizens of the United States from some looming, invisible threat. The story of the Tejano massacres of the early 20th century must be told so that Americans realize what that kind of paranoia leads to at its worst.”
“…Chirsitine Molis said she hopes the exhibition will bring context to the border story and act as a reminder that aggression, ethnic tensions and militarization existed long before modern-day drug cartels and immigration controversies. ‘The violence has been there all along, it was just never spoken about before,’ she said.
“I am a descendant of one of the victims of the matanza…which occured from July to October of 1915,” Gonzales said. ‘The translation I’m using is ‘massacre.’ That was the word they used in the 1920s to describe these events.'”
“Instead, when six professors formed the Refusing to Forget collaborative in 2013, they sought to remind the world of the violence between 1910 and 1920 in order to highlight its legacy, Hernandez said. It includes the 1929 formation of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and many developments in between.”