Grand Saline, Texas, a town east of Dallas, has a history of racism, a history the community doesn’t talk about.
The story of Xicanindio poet/activist Raúl R. Salinas and a changing nation told through "medicine stories," poetry, and the rhythm of jazz.
Laura Varela is a San Antonio-based documentary filmmaker and media artist who has received awards from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, Humanities Texas and Latino Public Broadcasting's Public Media Content Fund. In 2015 she won the San Antonio Film Festival's City on the Rise Best Director Award.
She received her B.S. in radio, TV and film from the University of Texas. Her documentary, As Long as I Remember: American Veteranos examined the steep personal toll of the Vietnam War on three artists from south Texas: visual artist Juan Farias, author Michael Rodriguez and actor/poet Eduardo Garza.
Raúl Salinas and the Poetry of Liberation takes the audience on a trip through the life Xicanindio poet/activist Raúl R. Salinas and a changing nation told through "medicine stories," poetry, and the rhythm of jazz. This story examines the social and political forces that transformed a man from petty criminal to a poet of the people and revolutionary. Salinas’s journey includes transformative moments when he directly engaged the oppressive forces that were attempting to destroy his own life and the people he loved.
His narrative runs through Jim Crow Texas of the '40s and '50s, to the trails of migrant workers to the prison rights movement, to the Chicano and American Indian movement with the defense of Leonard Peltier, Cuba, the United Nations in Geneva, to Nicaragua, and finally to Salinas’s years in Austin nurturing the voices of young poets and incarcerated youth. Salinas’s story and poetry is a testament to the times when Native people in the United States and Latin American rose up against oppression and colonization and found radical transformation in their quest for liberation.