The Queque

Dave Mass of the San Antonio Current was one of our guest speakers at the Media training workshop, during the 2007 Anti-Death Penalty Spring Break. You can read more on his talk at their new blog Chisme Libre. The other speaker was Pedro de la Torre III, Associate Manager of Organizing and Outreach for Campus Progress. Campus Progress has always been a sponsor of our projects by providing both financial and leadership support.

SA Current always has a fundamental significance for us at the TSADP. Because they were the first paper to cover our activities. A few months before my graduation from high school, I organized TSADP’s first protest in front of Bexar County courthouse in downtown San Antonio on April 2005. We were able to gather around twenty students from local high schools and the Trinity University to protest execution of Douglas Robert and Milton Mathis.

They also published a very hilarious piece this week on Rep. Miles and the art show censorship during the spring break. You can read the full article

It ain’t no easy trick for the Queque to escape not only the office, but the city for a couple days mid-week. Especially if our main goal is to check out the hottest new Nordic indie-rock outfits. But even political bloodhounds can’t resist the scent of SXSW blowing in from the 35: armpit patchouli, flat and fetid bargain beer, and freshly mowed grass (the class-B-misdemeanor variety).

To justify the trip, the Queque wormed our way into a 20-minute speaking slot at the Alternative Spring Break, which is the annual activist-training camp thrown by the Texas Students Against the Death Penalty for high-school and college activists. (Can you imagine the stories? “One time … at death-penalty camp …”). We met with Say-Town’s own survivalists, both from the International School of the Americas: Jew-froed, Matisyahu acolyte Sam Kohn and Aryan Hedayati, brother to Hooman Hedayati, TSADP’s president. Dave Maass embarrassed himself, but for details you’ll have to read his confession on our Chisme Libre blog.

The Queque’s pilgrimage coincided with the death-penalty art censorship controversy. Surely you read about it, perhaps in the LA Times, the NY Times, the Washington Post, or the Guardian? Last week, the Texas Moratorium Network moved much of the artwork from their annual anti-death-penalty art show, “Justice for All?”, to the E2 Capitol Annex. Representative Boris Miles, a Democrat from Houston, happened upon these two images while leading his 5 and 8-year-olds down the corridor:

“Doing God’s Work,” a watercolor by Portland-based artist and Art Institute of Chicago alumnus Shanon Playford; and “The Widowmaker,” by death-row inmate and native Cuban Reinaldo Dennes, which links racist lynchings to the death penalty.

In order to protect his children from the horrors of art reflecting the horrors of Texas state policy, Miles yanked the two works off their easels and locked them in his office — that’s instead of complaining to the State Preservation Board, which oversees Capitol displays, or Representative Harold Dutton, who sponsored the exhibit. The first offends Christians, the second offends blacks, Representative Miles told student activists. Scott Cobb, president of the Texas Moratorium Network, found it amusing and wished only that it had been a Republican censor instead.

The Queque is obviously a proponent of free speech, especially at the Capitol, the most public of public buildings, where ideas should flow as freely as snot from a crying babe’s nose. All things should be discussed under the Pink Dome, particularly the ugly stuff, like the rapes and abuse within the Texas Youth Commission. Rapes and abuse, by the way, are not appropriate for children.

Next week we hope to hear that Miles is tearing up the tile at the Capitol with his bare hands. This mosaic pattern is certainly questionable:

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Hooman Hedayati

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