August 31, 2012, is the last day that renowned Chicana, feminist scholar Dr. Norma E. Cantú will be at the University of Texas, San Antonio’s English Department. To honor her work, Dr. Larissa Mercado-López (one of her former students) led a group of volunteers who organized an amazing mini-symposium on the life and work of Dr. Cantú. Other Chicana scholars and some of Dr. Cantú’s former students presented papers highlighting the multi-faceted aspects of Cantú’s work. As part of the panel on “Chicana Literary Expressions,” David F. García, and Dr. Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz collaborated by writing her a corrido entitled “Destino al andar.” The day closed with an after party at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center co-organized by another one of Dr. Cantú’s former students, Dr. V. June Pedraza, and Dr. Antonia I. Castañeda, Dr. Elsa Cantú Ruiz and another group of volunteers. People visited from all over the country to honor and thank Dr. Norma E. Cantú for all the work, passion and love that she has shared with thousands of people in her communities. This corrido is just a little “regalito” for her. Mil gracias, Norma! De todo corazón.
Written and performed by Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz and David Garcia at UT San Antonio on Friday, August 24. Video by conference organizer Larissa Mercado-Lopez.
“DESTINO AL ANDAR” “DESTINY AS WE WALK”
Al empezar a cantar As we begin singing
Pedimos permiso ahora We now ask for your permission
Para rendir homenaje To pay tribute
A una ilustre doctora. To an illustrious doctor
Ella es de la frontera She is from the border
En los dos Laredos criada Raised in the two Laredos
Chicana de tal carrera A Chicana with such a career
Por todos muy apreciada Respected by everyone
Norma Cantú es su nombre Norma Cantú is her name
Y le vengo a saludar And I come here to salute her
Le brindo mi canto alegre I offer her my happy song
Un regalo musical A musical gift
Es persona de renombre She is a renowned person
Con buen don de la palabra Gifted with words
Maestra en todo sentido Knowledgeable in every sense
En cualquier lengua que habla. In any language she speaks
Esta doctora sí cura This doctor does cure
Con esa pluma en la mano With her pen in her hand
Escribe de la cultura She writes about
De chicanas y chicanos Chicana and Chicano cultures
Para ayudar a estudiantes At working with students
Nunca nadie la mejora No one can be better
Todos ellos son brillantes They are all brilliant
Es la ideal profesora Because she’s the ideal professor
Escribe nuevas historias She writes about new (hi)stories
Que hablan del feminismo. That speak of feminisms
Y con una pluma zurda And with the left-handed plume
De un pájaro fronterizo From a borderlands bird
Brindamos a la maestro We toast our teacher
En el lindo San Antonio In our beautiful San Antonio
Por la cultura tejana She continues to give testimony
Sigue dando testimonio On Chicana/o culture
Al andar se hace el destino Destiny is created as we walk
Por donde no hubo ni huella Where there wasn’t a footprint
Peregrina de caminos Pilgrim of the roads
Yo le saludo, ¡Ultreya! I salute you, “-Go forth!
Vuela, vuela golondrina Fly, fly away, swallow
Por el cielo tan azul Throughout the deep blue sky
Protege a nuestra madrina Protect our godmother
La profesora Cantú Professor Cantú
¡Viva la Dra. Norma Cantú! ¡Viva la Dra. Norma Cantú!
Dr. Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz is a professor of Spanish and Transnational Mexican Popular Cultures at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. Her book entitled Wild Tongues: Transnational Mexican Popular Culture was published in July 2012 in the UT Press Chicana Matters Series.
David Garcia is a musician/composer of Chicano/Mexican music from northern New Mexico. He is a Queer Xicano/Manito anthropologist who studies popular culture, foodways and the production of public space. Garcia is currently a Ph.D. student in the in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin.