We Want to Hear From You!

This is a blog for the community, by the community! Submit writings, opinion columns, and/or pics of anything you think is important to share with fellow Denver Harbor residents! All submitted things will be given the credit of the person who wrote or sent in the work. Email us @ ourdhstreets@gmail.com.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cesar Chavez Parade & Celebration This Saturday

When I hear 'Cesar Chavez', I recall that he was the only frame of reference for so-called Hispanic pride that was offered me in middle or high school. He fought for laborers' rights to organize & unionize & while I don't agree (personally) with all his ideals, I can appreciate his lucha for those that toil & struggle; Especially now, where we are seeing so many lose their jobs due to poor $$ investing and spending by our government. With Dolores Huerta, he formed the United Farm Workers (UFW) movement, which continues his legacy today.
Houston's Cesar Chavez event will consist of a parade & celebration starting @ the Sellers Bros parking lot on Cesar Chavez & ending @ Hidalgo Park on Magnolia's Ave Q. This event mirrors many that will be going on throughout the Nation this weekend to commemorate Cesar's life. It's a great opportunity to make the presence of our gente known in this East End area- just by our partaking in the parade.

For more info on the Tejano Association for Historical Preservation, visit them here
For more info on Cesar & the work of UFW go to www.ufw.org

Si Se Puede!

P.S. Further your knowledge of original people that fought for rights on various fronts in the United States- A few names to note: Dolores Huerta, Assata Shakur, Corky Gonzalez, Emma Tenayuca, Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu Jamal. Start there.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Our DH Streets Spotlights : Leann Gallardo

Full-Time Mom /Wife/DH Resident/ Founder of Celebrations R Us

It's hard to visit Leann's Celebrations R Us shop and not start to think of the coming Spring & Summer parties that her customizable items can be used for. Located not far from Scroggins Elementary in Denver Harbor, Leann carved out a work area out of the home she keeps with her husband & two sons. Creative ideas & being party-planning savvy, Leann meets with people by appointment to get them set up with custom invitations, party favors, & (if called for) a costumed character for their event. April will mark 1 year that Leann became her own boss & her business began establishing itself within the DH community. I felt very welcomed sitting down with Leann in her shop to discuss Celebrations R Us & how she thinks Denver Harbor residents can begin to reconnect & feel safer in their own streets.

D- Tell me about your business.
L-I do personalized invitations, party goods, mint books, candy bars & I am also in the costume entertainment business for all occasions; Meaning, we have costume characters that will come to your party and play games with kids, dance, give out prizes, organize for birthday cake singing, and provide a present to the birthday boy or girl.In all aspects of my business I try to budget out reasonably so that I can provide things at a good price because I'm aware of people's money situations.

D- What inspired you to start your own business & why in Denver Harbor?
L-My children. For their parties, I would rent character costumes and organize games and just seeing their faces after having such a great time really inspired me. Once I had my younger child, I was really driven to be closer to both of my sons. Plus, I wanted to create something that can turn into a family business.
I have always lived in DH, so it was easy and natural to start here. I also feel like people grow up here, leave, and then talk down about the neighborhood. But, if people stay and become invested in it, the community could be nicer or have the things they say they leave the neighborhood for.

D- What would you say is a specialty service that you provide compared to other places & which of your items is your favorite?
L- One of the great things about us is that you can get most of your party
items in one place. I provide packages set up in that way and offer discounts based on what you order together. Before going full time with the business, I would just do candy bar favors. So, they are my favorite because they leave alot of room to be creative and can be used in a variety of ways. Some people have come to me to do candy bars for fundraisers or as thank you's for their events, for example.

D- So, you grew up in DH. What can you say about the changes that have come with time here?
L- I used to walk from one side of the neighborhood to the other and feel safe because I felt like these were my streets. Everybody knew each others families. We'd have festivals in the parks here, people would come out, but the city don't do that anymore. It's not like it used to be. I feel that if we had similar events, the people would know each other more personally & feel safe again.

Leann plans to expand her costume character selection in the next months and hopes the Springtime weather & Summer get-togethers will help her business become more successful. She wants to see Denver Harbor residents pull together more and more as a community. I think Leann's energy and pride in our DH streets are the types of things that will cultivate amazing results for her & all the people she will come across through her hard work. If you have a special event coming up, do yourself a favor and check out:

Celebrations R Us

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Telemundo Houston Health Fair on March 28

taken from - http://blogs.chron.com/eastend/

The free Telemundo Houston Health Fair will be held from 7:00 a.m. until noon on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at Tejano Center's Raul Yzaguirre School for Success 2950 Broadway, Houston, TX 77017.

The fair will offer free cholesterol and diabetes screening, mammograms, dental and eye exams, vaccinations, and information about the Texas Childrens Insurance Program (CHIPS). Harris County Hospital District, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas Childrens Hospital and many other medical institutions will be on hand to offer important free health information. Contact Virginia Salazar at 713-640-3704 for details.

Posted by Michael Golden at 06:16 PM

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Selena (Park) Forever

Realizing it had been a good few weeks since we’d had good enough weather to go out & enjoy the outdoors, I decided to take a walk around Selena Quintanilla-Perez Park, aka Denver Harbor Park yesterday. The place was packed with Little Leaguers practicing with their coaches, gente throwing around footballs & kicking around soccer balls, fruit/raspa vendors doing their thing, and babies to teens strolling around the various trails just making their rounds and taking in the energy giving Sun. I heard music bassing from passing cars & outdoor radios & watched all the familiar faces smiling & regenerating due to the beautiful day.

I took a seat under a city-provided covered table area & got to thinking about the essence of the park & about the Tejano star Selena, after who the park was re-named following her tragic & untimely death in 1995.

Selena oozed Tejanismo; from her perfect-fit & sequined outfits, her ‘Chola-esque’ makeup, to the Tex-Mex sound of her musica. She became a home grown idol to Mexican girls & all colored mujeres throughout the Nation due to her youth, energetic performances, strong voice, and the full figured body she wore so comfortably. Tejano music had a very male-centered history until Selena hit the scene in the 80’s and by 1987, the Tejano Music Awards named Selena Best Female Vocalist- an award she dominated for the next seven years. Many Houstonians I know can brightly recall having the opportunity to meet Selena at festivals in the early stages of her career & especially watching her do her thing at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo in February 1995- a performance that solidified her popularity by drawing about 65,000 fans to the infamous Astrodome- more than any performer that year.

March 31st, 2009 will mark 14 years since Selena passed & I can still remember hearing the news from my best friends mom after being picked up from McReynolds Middle School. Both me and my friend told her mom to quit jiving because April Fools Day was not till tomorrow, but once home watching the news coverage showing many teenage girls weeping in disbelief over the loss of their queen.

So, with all of that knowledge and all these memories, I reflected on how the City Council renamed Denver Harbor Park to commemorate & celebrate such an amazing & missed mujer & how beautiful it was to have a day in the park to reflect on life, great Tejano music, and the history, pride, and Tejanismo that oozes from Denver Harbor residents, like it did from Selena.

Statue in Corpus Christi of Selena

Find more on Selena @ her official site @ SelenaForever.com and find out more about Selena Quintanilla-Perez Park @ Selena Perez Community Center!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Para Las Mujeres / For the Women

Sisters, in my opinion, there is not enough dialogue between us - as women of color, as conscious women, as women who have become educated, built, suffered, survived, and experienced. I think this mostly has to do with the fact that our society is not set up in a way that gives women instant equality and space to express ourselves. It is really up to us to carve out spaces and events in order to help conversations & understanding happen. Many of us do not have close female friends because we are taught to distrust each other from the workplace to the home. I've heard many women talk about how another woman has betrayed them, used them, manipulated them, etc. and they have in turn, decided it's best to not interact on personal levels with the female sex to a large degree. Yet, in looking at where our lives and livelihoods are taking us- bringing us into a recession/depression, with growing hate crimes, with growing stress on us and our men due to joblessness & a lack of money, with kidnappings in our area, with the state of women who are being used and abused and made to feel hopeless- it is only right and necessary that we open ourselves up to building with our fellow women again. There is so much that we can accomplish as women who work hard, have created spaces inside ourselves for other women to come, have suffered, have survived, and have experienced whatever we have experienced. We all have something to bring to the table.

So, in that spirit, this coming weekend, there will be an event honoring International Women's Day here in Houston's East End. The event will be hosted by women featuring women about womenly things. But, yes, men..you are more than welcomed to attend!

I know the ladies who have come together since late last year to make this happen & I hope to see & meet many more sisters there.

Bohemeos is a great cafe/deli so come hungry & thirsty!
For more info/ complete schedule/and artist info: