Raul Salinas is dead

Raul Salinas is dead at the age of 73. The little man lived a big life. He was a fine poet and performer, a social and cultural activist, a teacher of young people and a man of peace even when he was speaking about revolution and resistance. An ex-con (15years) from his early days in Los Angeles, he had somehow found literature and social resistance and art and poetry and music and his indigenous spirituality inside the prison system. Lee and I met him when, in the early 90s, we would pack up all of our Cinco Puntos Press books and drive the 600 miles over to San Antonio for the Inter-American Book Fair. From the beginning Raul always had un abrazo and a blessing for us. All peoples were equal to him. Some people just didn’t understand. That was okay. Raul had the time to teach them. He taught young people to respect themselves and to care for themselves and to practice their art which would speak for them. And he taught them, through his own example, to respect the elders in their community. To listen to them. Raul was old fashioned that way. I’ll miss him dearly.

Raul, may you rest in peace, Brotherman.

For more information, Miguel Liscano wrote a fine obitiuary (with a photo album) for the Austin American Statesman , and Omar Gallega blogged a wonderful description of how Raul lived his life. You can also support La Resistencia Books and Red Salmon Arts. If you're in Austin, go by and buy some books and visit with the good poeple who will be carrying on his work. One is a young man from El Paso, Rene Valdez. In the days and weeks to come, there’ll be plenty of material about Raul Salinas on the internet. Pay attention. He brought some peace into the world simply by discovering what revolution is within himself.

Note: A friend just called. He wanted to tell me that El Tapón had died. El Tapón? I asked. Yeah. Raul Salinas. El Tapón was his nickname when he came out of prison. But what does it mean? You know, it means the “stopper.” Cool, I said. The Stopper. El Tapón.

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