Retirement announcement and note of thanks to my colleagues
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I’d like to share this announcement with my colleagues in the Ethnic Studies in Language and Literature group.
January 2, 2012 Released Today 12/13/2013 before my appearance at the Convention in Chicago to be present for the Award Ceremonies of 2014 and thank my extraordinary colleagues.
My Dear Colleagues in the GL/Q Caucus at the M.L.A. and all my colleagues in general:
In the fall of 2011, I was suffering from intense cyber bullying and lost all hope. At that time, after having worked extensively for the tenure reversal of an African colleague at UCLA, I received news soon after that I had won the Michael Lynch Award. I was overwhelmed because by then I expected nothing from academia after 38 years of being a member of the MLA. I led a life of service and devotion not only to my GL/Q colleagues but to the entire profession. I write today to let you know what I did during this tenure year of the award. I will begin by stating that today is the birthday of my mother and I am writing with the power of her love and memory. During this last year, I worked very hard in efforts that deal with many professional colleagues whose trust I have and, therefore, my silence. I have helped in other endeavors also that deal with poor people and union workers, needless to say, denouncing the violence that has taken over my homeland. I celebrated in 2012 the 25th anniversary of the publication of my openly Lesbian collection The Margarita Poems. And it was my GL/Q colleagues in academia who made that collection get the accolades it has and I bow profoundly to you in gratitude—especially to Dr. Roger Platizky, who nominated me for the award. During this last year, I also unveiled a war that has been in existence among Gay men in academia against each other which has provoked grave harm. By speaking with the sincerity and frankness that is characteristic of me, I have, once again, been shunned because I have spoken truth to power and ask for an end of back stabbing and for an era when all my colleagues join to work to continue changing the profession in terms of unity. I have also worked with poor people outside of academia in their daily struggles. Now I can divulge to you that during the tenure of my award, I worked to release the son of Chicana Poet Ana Castillo from prison and his name I shall withhold. This was the crown jewel of my career in that year of service. In fact, through some postings, humorous and bold in style, that lasted two months at Luzma Speaks I raised funds for La tolteca, Ana Castillo, Julia Alvarez, Cherrie Moraga, Sandra aria Esteves, Marjorie Agosin, Norma Elia Cantu by having people buy their books and art work. Since the beginning of my career I have stated that the Humanities need to have a human face and that the academy cannot live with its back turned to the communities that compose the buildings beyond our ivory towers. So I appear before you (in writing) to say that my mission has been accomplished and that after February of this year(2013), I will cease all work of advocacy, except in special cases, because I will finally retire. I ask that you take on the challenges/retos and battles that I have brought to academia and the ones I have fought for in my life and, since you are celebrating at a Cash Bar, I say to you all: “Here is to Love, Life and the Power of Ancestral Healing!” Vivan mis colegas, Viva el Caucus, y que Vivan Julia y Margarita.! Luz María Umpierre, Ph.D. Poet, Scholar, Human Rights Advocate