🇲🇽The Mexicanx Initiative

Introduction to the Mexicanx Initiative Scrapbook

This is a collection of memories, a spontaneous burst of creative works, a celebration of Mexicanx creators and fans, and a documentation of something that started with passion and a vision and grew into so much more.

Raquel Castro, Gabriela Damián, and Andrea Chapela on the Mexican Female Horror Writers panel Sent by Julia Rios; photo by Kateryna Barnes)

Raquel Castro, Gabriela Damián, and Andrea Chapela on the Mexican Female Horror Writers panel Sent by Julia Rios; photo by Kateryna Barnes)

The Mexicanx Initiative, started by Worldcon 76 Artist Guest of Honor, John Picacio, and sponsored by many wonderful and caring members of the Worldcon community, brought 42 Mexican and Mexican-American people to San Jose, California in August of 2018 to attend Worldcon 76.

Stories, essays, food, poems, art, and so much more were born of this experience. From Lauren Raye Snow's incredibly powerful Mexicanx Initiative Manifesto to Héctor González's array of delicious (and cleverly named!) salsas to the anthology A Larger Reality: Speculative Fiction from the Bicultural Margins, the Initiative made community and creativity blossom. But more than that, it gave the participants a sense of belonging, both with each other, and within the larger community of science fiction fandom.

The word that Initiative members most often use to describe the Initiative now is familia. We hope that as you explore this scrapbook you'll feel like part of the family, too.

And when you've finished here, please visit our online gallery of photos which shows even more of the joy of our experiences at Worldcon 76.


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X Up!

The Mexicanx Initiative's 42 attending artists, authors, and fans came into Worldcon 76 strong and united, with John Picacio reading a statement by Lauren Raye Snow at the Opening Ceremonies. While John read Lauren's moving words, the Initiative's members stood in rows behind him on the stage, arms linked in X formations. The message was unity, strength, and a rejection of hate.

We went from the Opening Ceremonies to our reception party in the ASFA suite at the Fairmont. The reception had amazing food lovingly prepared by Héctor González, and we all got Mexicanx Initiative badge ribbons, stickers designed by Smok, lucha libre figures from José Luis Zárate, copies of A Larger Reality from Libia Brenda, and perhaps most exciting to many of us: invitations to the Hugo Losers Party from George R. R. Martin. By the end of the evening, all of us knew that this experience was something far more special than we had dreamed, and the gesture of Xing up became our shorthand for that rush of belonging.

Full stage of Mexicanx Initiative members Xing up during the opening ceremonies at Worldcon 76 (Sent by: John Picacio; Photo credit: Debi Chowdhury)

Full stage of Mexicanx Initiative members Xing up during the opening ceremonies at Worldcon 76 (Sent by: John Picacio; Photo credit: Debi Chowdhury)

Delicious salsas created by Héctor González Hernández for the MexicanXInitiative reception. (Photo by: Dianita Cerón)

Delicious salsas created by Héctor González Hernández for the MexicanXInitiative reception. (Photo by: Dianita Cerón)

A Larger Reality at Worldcon 76

Part of the Initiative's magic was the way that it brought people and projects together. Before the Intitiative, many of us didn't know each other, but once we knew that we were part of a group, we began working together to support each other and make cool things.

Libia Brenda, an author and editor from Mexico City, had the idea to make a sampling of Mexicanx Initiative stories. Her initial plan was to do something like a fanzine with fiction from several Initiative members. When she started asking people if they'd like to participate, a whole anthology of awesome stories came together. Libia included a comic of her own, and, as a group, we all pulled together to make sure every piece was translated into English or Spanish (depending on the original language). When Libia mentioned that she was going to pay printers out of her own pocket, we set up a quick crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

In the end Libia printed a tiny run of 200 hard copy flipbooks, which we gave to our Kickstarter backers, members of the Initiative, and some friends and sponsors of the Initiative at Worldcon. But we also made both the English and Spanish versions of the anthology available for free, which was always Libia's vision!

We had so much fun making this, and we were overwhelmed by the community support from Worldcon attendees. Everyone who contributed stories and translations to this anthology originally signed up to provide content for free, but by the time we'd finished our Kickstarter, we'd received enough money that all the authors could be paid at a professional rate according the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America! And that's not all! We paid our translators, editors, and deisgners, too!

Here are some of the experiences of Intitiative members who were involved in the anthology.

Finished copies of A Larger Reality (Photo by Libia Brenda)

Finished copies of A Larger Reality (Photo by Libia Brenda)

Mexicanx Initiative members meet with Kickstarter backers to thank them for backing A Larger Reality / Una realidad más amplia (Photo by Pablo Defendini)

Mexicanx Initiative members meet with Kickstarter backers to thank them for backing A Larger Reality / Una realidad más amplia (Photo by Pablo Defendini)

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Artists of the Mexicanx Initiative

The Mexicanx Initiative included a lot of different kinds of creators, but of course any group hand picked by a visual artist like John Picacio is going to have a bunch of ridiculously talented visual artists in it!

John arranged for the Mexicanx Initiative to have display space in the exhibitors hall, and every artist in the Initiative was invited to share the booth and display their work. Here are a few of the Initiative artists's experiences.

From left to right: Grace Chadwick, Gonzalo Alvarez, Vania Soto, Emmanuel Valtierra, Lauren Raye Snow, Robbie Trevino, Grace P. Fong, Cody Jimenez, Mariana Palova, Dianita Cerón, and Smok at the Mexicanx Initiative booth (Sent by: Dianita Cerón; Photo by Wally Wallace)

From left to right: Grace Chadwick, Gonzalo Alvarez, Vania Soto, Emmanuel Valtierra, Lauren Raye Snow, Robbie Trevino, Grace P. Fong, Cody Jimenez, Mariana Palova, Dianita Cerón, and Smok at the Mexicanx Initiative booth (Sent by: Dianita Cerón; Photo by Wally Wallace)

Cody Jimenez sketching at the Mexicanx Initiative art booth during Worldcon 76 (Photo by: Dianita Cerón)

Cody Jimenez sketching at the Mexicanx Initiative art booth during Worldcon 76 (Photo by: Dianita Cerón)

More Authors of the Mexicanx Initiative

Several of the Initiative's authors didn't have time to contribute to the anthology, but they joined in programming items like readings and panels, and one of them even felt inspired by Worldcon 76 to write a short story after the con!

In this section, you'll find Gerardo Horacio Porcayo's Worldcon 76 inspired fiction (in both English and Spanish!), and several experiences, including a run in with a stormtrooper!

Gerardo Horacio Porcayo at the Mexicanx Initiative Spanish language group reading (Photo by Alberto Chimal)

Gerardo Horacio Porcayo at the Mexicanx Initiative Spanish language group reading (Photo by Alberto Chimal)

The Other Con / La Otra Con by Gerardo Horacio Porcayo

Interview with Smok

Guadalupe Garcia McCall with a stormtrooper at Worldcon 76 (Photo by Anonymous on Guadalupe's phone)

Guadalupe Garcia McCall with a stormtrooper at Worldcon 76 (Photo by Anonymous on Guadalupe's phone)

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Coco, the Hugos, and the Alfies

The Sunday of Worldcon 76 was a big day for everyone, and the Mexicanx Initiative members were no exception! We'd had time to bond by then, we'd done readings and panels and parties and all kinds of things, and that meant our last full day and night of convention time was primed to be extra awesome and meaningful. Here are some (but definitely not all!) of the highlights.

Marcela Davison Avilés, Adrian Molina, Ana Ramirez, and Julia Rios at the Making of Coco panel (Photo by: Kateryna Barnes)

Marcela Davison Avilés, Adrian Molina, Ana Ramirez, and Julia Rios at the Making of Coco panel (Photo by: Kateryna Barnes)

George R. R. Martin leading the crowd in a cheer at the Hugo Losers Party (Photo by: Alberto Chimal)

George R. R. Martin leading the crowd in a cheer at the Hugo Losers Party (Photo by: Alberto Chimal)

 

This Is Not Goodbye

Mexicanx Initiative members at the Mexicanx Initiative reception at Worldcon 76 (Photo by Francesca Myman / Locus Magazine)

Mexicanx Initiative members at the Mexicanx Initiative reception at Worldcon 76 (Photo by Francesca Myman / Locus Magazine)

Picture This by Smok

Picture a shy Mexican girl in a strange place full of people from another galaxy.
Visualize her, a little bit nervous, building armor out of a lanyard, ribbons and a badge with “La Calavera” —
the perfect coat of arms for her breastplate.

Watch her, in the corner taking a selfie and sending it to her father to make him feel proud.
Then, experience the warmest welcome that ever existed from her new brother.
The one who built a portal and left it open so that she and others didn’t have to climb a wall.

Never forget the moment when almost fifty Mexicanxs crossed their arms in unity,
A statement, the beginning of a revolution, a fixed point in time that hatred will never be able to undo.

Smell the juicy carnitas and tortillas, taste the strong and sweet flavor of wine and una nueva familia,
Hear the sound of good conversations, talk in Spanglish.
And then, return to your hotel with a heartfelt feeling y con un mono de lucha libre in your hand.

Don’t be surprised at a room full of people waiting to hear a reading in Spanish.
But you can be surprised at how the characters of the stories you hear leave the room along with you.
Now they will go with you wherever you go, and always be there if you ever need their help.

Can you see how fortunate this girl is?
For having the opportunity to eat pho for the first time with a moon goddess with the heart of Frida Khalo, and a wise and magical friend who paints the dragons that live in her jardín.

Look, how the weekend goes fast. Days full of ancient knowledge, and nights full of golden beers.
Watch closely the atmosphere that we build, thick and strong, like a dome.
We cannot hear the screams from outside because our minds and hearts make a louder sound.

See the colors of the spirits that live in the sculptures and hanging paintings,
And all the friendly faces at the tables.
Remember the old books, new books, lonely books, and the books that you fell in love with, but can’t bring home because there is no more space in your suitcase.

Don’t hold back your tears when you watch the Hugos, please, let it all out.
Imagine your friends being up there, yourself being up there,
Because that’s a future that can be close enough.

Remember the parties, remember the food and deep talks.
Remember the kind souls you encountered for a short time,
Raise a glass por tu familia and new friends, and don’t worry: you will meet them again.

Picture a shy Mexican girl returning home, daydreaming and feeling like she found her place in the world.

And now at the count of three you will wake up,
Because we have to keep working hard,
We have to make a bigger portal.
One, two, three,
See you in Dublin.

John Picacio, Gonzalo Alvarez, and Grace Chadwick at the Hugo losers party (Photo by: Anonymous, taken on Gonzalo's phone)

John Picacio, Gonzalo Alvarez, and Grace Chadwick at the Hugo losers party (Photo by: Anonymous, taken on Gonzalo's phone)