Art and activism intersect at various points in Latin American history. From Nueva Canción in Chile to the muralist movement in Mexico, it would prove difficult to separate the creative from the political. As a poet and organizer, Jonathan Mendoza embodies the tandem challenge of creating art and revolution. Organizing, like poetry, forces us to look inside ourselves and confront the truths we don’t want to name. For example, Jonathan speaks about the irony of an outsider coming into a community to organize against gentrification. When he calls himself a gentrifier, I know it’s his truth as much as it’s my own. Jonathan Mendoza ends our conversation by reading one of his poems, which is perhaps one of the best ways to end an interview.
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Arturo “Tootie” Alvarez is based in Chicago. He trucks. He writes. Not at the same time. Twitter @TootieAlvarez.