Thursday, December 8, 2011

La Cocina: A Dignified Occupation by Chris Rodriguez

Red quinoa with roasted corn, red bell peppers, leeks, carrots, celery and purple onions.* 
My roots of rebellion first manifested in the form of public protest and occupation i.e. the South Central Farm encampment, organizing restaurant and hotel co-workers, May Day of 2006, and Cal Poly Pomona student occupation/ encampment-just to name a few. Most importantly, however, are the lessons I've learned from my elders who have shown me through ceremony that radical change begins with the self and in the home. It is a difficult lesson to learn that if one is not healthy within being an effective agent for the true liberation our communities desire is very difficult if not impossible. The Zapatistas say, “the most precious thing you can give to a movement is health.” We say health, autonomous and self-determined, is constructed through maintaining and promoting a plant-based diet--
an ecological, economic, culturally sustainable way of eating; rejecting the colonial traditions of the familia's structure by (re)membering the ways of our ancestors; and walking in solidarity with all our relations in rebellion towards a decolonial future. This is why you don’t see me camping out in the streets, in public spaces, or government buildings. Instead, my occupation has been of the heart of the home, la cocina. From within this space we have created another way of living, even if it is within the belly of the beast. It is from this dignified occupation, de la cocina, that we work to rebuild the health of our family unit that, like a caracol, resonates in a circular direction throughout our community (land, air, water, animals and humanity). We occupy our home to decolonize and re-indigenize, in the spirit of Zapatismo, a world where many worlds will fit.  Aho mitakuye oyasin!

*Red Quinoa receta: Bring 2 quarts of water to boil (preferably seasoned with veggie broth or salt), add red quinoa and reduce to a simmer till grain plumps (10-15 minutes mas o menos). The grain will absorb the water. Set aside. In a large skillet sautee the veggies (about two-three cups worth of diced veggies of your choice works too) in grapeseed or coconut oil. Add about half of the cooked quinoa save the rest for later use. Quinoa is super high in protein and an indigenous grain from the Andes region of Abyayala. Provecho!


  1. Thank you for this post! Real & beautiful.

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