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Daniel Hernandez

00:00 / 01:29

I know very well the stigma of the river and of the neighborhood I grew up in, Rose Park — what we would call growing up in the hood, you know, west of the train tracks. This valley is very segregated in terms of race, and class, and many other factors, and I was always aware of that. So for me, the river was something that I identified with because it was in the hood like us. It was an urban river; it was urban green space. It was polluted. It was stigmatized, and we felt that way too. So there was always this kind of intimacy with the river because of that, and a complicated relationship too because we had to challenge the deficit views that a lot of people in the society had. Then trying to now recover and reclaim that there is strength from the river despite being channelized and polluted and siphoned. It's still such an important habitat for migratory birds. It's such an important habitat for other mammals and other non-human animal relatives, as well as for human beings. Despite all of that abuse, it's still flowing, and it's still supporting life. And to me, that resonated a lot with my own family's colonial experience. 

Daniel Hernadez, pen name Arcia Tecun after his grandmothers, is the Director of Culture for Tracy Aviary and the Nature Center at Pia Okwai (Jordan River Nature Center). Hernandez is Wīnak (Urban Diasporic Highland Maya) and has local ties to the Rose Park community. He created the Stories of Place ecojustice film series that reflects on what it means to be here and of this place, particularly in relation to Pia Okwai (Jordan River).

Daniel Hernandez
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