Like a round of Loteria, Mexican migrants find that leaving their home country for the United States is also a game of chance. In the most popular version of the game developed by Don Clemente, the back of the cards contain riddles. Printed in black and white on the back of El Corazon, the card reads: “No me extrañes corazón, que regreso en el camión.” “Do not miss me, sweetheart, I'll be back by bus.”
In Mexican-American culture, the Aztecs would extract the hearts of enemies in sacrifice to Huitzilopochtli and Xochipilli. In the Cristero War, prayers were offered to the sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary as Catholics defended their faith against secularists and the anti-clerical policies being imposed by the Mexican government. Frida Kahlo, for one, used anatomical hearts in her imagery to depict the intensity of her tribulations and physical pain. Lest we forget that the heart is also a symbol of love, as we’ve often heard people use the term, “corazon” or “corazonsito” as a term of endearment, heard in songs such as Pedro Infante’s “Amorcito Corazon.”
That’s not to say that El Corazon can only be used as a symbol of Xicanismo or solely by those of Mexican descent. Currently we are feeling the vibrations in the movements of resistance against the threat of a fascist ruler carried as a collective heartbeat through nuestra gente. Our drive and ability to rebel is carried within our veins bleeding out into the world to protest rascism, xenophobia, bigotry, homophobia and stand up for the value of education and respect for our tierra.
I believe El Corazon is what and who we are: nuestras creencias, la sangre heredada por nuestros antepasados que arrastra en su corriente nuestras tradiciones, dichas y maldiciones, and it beats to the rhythm of our passions directing us to our destiny.