Hoy es Cinco de Mayo, and no, it’s not Mexican independence day and it’s not a U.S. holiday. Yet it is a day of great importance. For the Mexican and Xicano communities, it marks the victory of the Mexican army over the French en la Batalla de Puebla that took place on the morning of May 5th, 1862.
Although the Mexican army was eventually defeated, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to represent a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism. With this victory, Mexico demonstrated to the world that her people were willing to defend themselves from any foreign intervention. For the Xicana Community, it has become a day to celebrate pride, independence, and freedom.
On Open Book today, we mark this day by bringing you an interview with Xicano poet, writer and educator, Tomas Riley. He’s also a veterano of the seminal Chicano spoken-word collective The Taco Shop Poets.