Fearless: Mauricio Novoa

This week, we acknowledge Mauricio Novoa ‘14 as a fearless advocate of social justice through his use of the power of words.

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Mauricio, an English major with a writing concentration, keeps a personal blog called Greasy Frijoles where he has been posting original poems since January 2012. Aside from being a very talented writer, Mauricio writes in various styles and on a number of topics. Many of his pieces confront racism and classism head on. Their power and honesty urge readers to ponder the issues that they face in our society and their effects on different people. Here is one of Mauricio’s poems taken from an entry on April 10th, 2012:

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Rolling papers burned down to the butt end
Heatin up the fire that we all try so hard to summon
Cuz if it ain’t hot, then there’s no way that we can catch on
And hold up Pop and Mom til all the seeds from the batch gone
So hours upon hours spent on perfectin 4 minutes
Then they send you back if your shit is missin gimmicks
And all for the womens, all for moneys, never for never being bummy
The perceptions of the public shift to payments from our tummies
Like we ain’t hungry, food for dummies: it ain’t all about the fame
We all look for lives of glory cuz we’re tired of lives of shame
So this for little Ann and Ellie to put bread up in their bellies
And decent channels on the tele, and beds with room a plenty
Without need to dream of pennies, own the dreams the screens be selling
And gift wrap em to the people who had others to them telling
“You’re stuck in this forever,” so we stay stuck in the worst
But shock em all appearing in the house next door by the 2nd verse

They want role models, they want posters, they want heroes
They don’t see the brains or blood, cuz they aren’t entertained by people
So their souls are sold for gold, thoughts grow old and turn to mold
And so we’re told “stick to the mold, and your income won’t go cold”
And when your plate is imported, other options close on range
Why keep to the same, where kids get tightened up for loose change
All the hand cramps and re-writes and the no-hours-of-sleep nights
And the drink-til-i-can’t-see-rights, to get out of debt that’s knee height
But they still can’t find a reason to praise the work that’s done
Well what’s the word without the message, they see the whole but not the sum
So walking with the whites, they look at me like a sideshow
Cuz the art of the poor is painted on my wardrobe
But the blue in their eyes only shows them hot mess
That’s why I wear my cap back, cuz I wasn’t meant to progress
But moving forward, I keep it going, from the backside of a college class
My brown roots grow into greek letters, but keep the rap crack for your stash

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Mauricio’s blog is directed towards his friends, peers, and anyone else who shows an interest in his writing. His fearlessness to open up to whoever is willing to listen is inspiring, and it hopefully sends a very powerful message to his readership. Through Greasy Frijoles, he sends the message that we should not be silent, we should express what we are thinking and feeling, and share our thoughts with the world. A large part of social justice is engaging others in a dialogue and encouraging people to question the status quo.

Mauricio has also used his writing to fight social justice in other areas. Just this month he authored a Surge post, Brown Eyes, Brown Mind: What We Learn From What We See about race and the education system.

This week we would also like to give a shout out to the LIU Summer School of Excellence, where Mauricio and several other Gettysburg students are working this summer as a teacher’s aides. The school will celebrate its last week with a field trip to Caledonia and a performance for parents on Wednesday night.

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