via Austin Beloved Community –Movement History
Raúl R. Salinas was born in San Antonio and grew up in East Austin. He passed awayin 2008, but what he did with his life still stands today, both literally andfiguratively.
Salinasis lauded as one of the most important Chicano poets of his generation and isrecognized as a dissident voice who always fought for two things: resistenciaand social justice.
His relationships to political prisoners like the Puerto Rican Independentistas while serving time in some of the most brutal prisons in the country transformed him into a warrior in defense of human rights. Fresh out of prison in Seattlein 1972, Salinas encountered something that would stick with him forever: thebookstore at the Centro de la Raza (http://www.elcentrodelaraza.com/).
Afew years after the idea of creating a space for literature, freedom andintellectual discussion was planted in Salinas’ mind, he moved back to Austin.It was 1981 and Salinas set out to open a small storefront shop in theneighborhood where he had grown up. Poetry readings followed and a communitygrew around the bookstore. Today, what Salinas built is still with us.
Resistencia Bookstore (https://www.resistenciabooks.com/) is the go-toplace for Chicano literature, poetry readings and revolutionary, social justiceand human rights texts. It is also a space where intellectual exchanges areencouraged and where finding the right book is a way of life.
“WhenSalinas came to Austin, he found himself surround by important movements,”said Lilia Rosas, who works with Resistencia Bookstore and RedSalmon Arts (https://www.resistenciabooks.com/aWebPages/%20eRedSalmon/redsalmon_.html), the Native American/Chicano based cultural arts organizationhoused inside the bookstore.
“Theidea behind Resistencia is, if you don’t see yourself reflected in thebookshelves, make it happen, build a space for what you think should beavailable.” – Lilia Rosas
“Therewas the student movement, the gay movement, the women’s rights movement andmany others. There was also a strong spirit of do-it-yourself at the time, andthat’s in part responsible for the creation of this space. The idea behindResistencia is, if you don’t see yourself reflected in the bookshelves, make ithappen, build a space for what you think should be available.” “Wewelcome anyone whose perspective includes social justice, anyone who suffers orhas suffered from the multitude of oppressions we still face today. This placeis a haven, a sanctuary for anyone who has experienced oppression. It’s calledResistencia for a reason. Come right in, we’re not going to question you, we’renot going to card you.”