VERSE / Gregg Barrios : Free Ramsey Now!

1972 campaign poster for Ramsey Muniz, Raza Unida candidate for governor of Texas.


By Gregg Barrios

When all is said and done
when you and I are dead,
your legend will remain
a true Chicano son.

It never was just us
it was you, me y todos
who believed our time
had come – and it had.

But politics is a fickle
whore who knocks on
every door for a quick
trip around the whirl.

You were the poster
boy for el movimiento
madres y palomilla all
voted La Raza Unida.

Ramsey for Governor
de Tejas was the rally
and the cry until they
put a spell on you.

We stood in disbelief
the gutless cynics
said you betrayed us
by not fighting back.

But where were we
when you received
a life sentence for

Free Peltier, simón que sí.
Free Angela, right on, bro.
Free Ramsey Muñiz, and
the silence is deafening.

No solidarity or support
from those whose road
you paved, now elected
judges, mayors y mas.

Watching them on TV,
I wonder how and why
they lost their raza roots,
cut their native tongue.

I remembered the exiled
brothers Flores Magón
true architects and heroes
de la Revolución jailed.

A century later, you
occupy the same cell
at Leavenworth for a life
sentence of confinement.

We don’t know how to
honor our leaders alive
only after they’re dead
and buried en el olvido.

I saw a documentary on
PBS today a clip of your
vibrant face did express
real strength and grace.

Your voice had been erased
as if truth could cause riots
or upheaval in the realization
of how much we left undone.

When all is said and done
when you and I are dead,
your legend will remain
a true Chicano son.

— Gregg Barrios / The Rag Blog
Posted December 15, 2010

Ramsey Muniz arrives at Nueces County Jail in handcuffs, December 28, 1976.

Ramsey Muniz was a Chicano activist, a civil rights attorney, and twice the Raza Unida Party candidate for governor of Texas, receiving six percent of the vote in 1972. Famed attorney Dick DeGuerin said Muniz “changed the face of politics in Texas. He gave power of inclusion to Hispanic Americans.” Muniz was convicted in 1976 on drug charges resulting from a controversial sting operation carried out by the DEA, and in 1994 was given life without parole after a third drug conviction.

[San Antonio poet, playwright, and journalist Gregg Barrios wrote for The Rag in Sixties Austin. Gregg is on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle. His new book of poetry, in which this poem is included, is La Causa (Hansen, 2010).]

The Rag Blog

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4 Responses to VERSE / Gregg Barrios : Free Ramsey Now!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Amazing tribute to a forgotten warrior. The fight continues.

  2. Erasmo & Sally Andrade says:

    Ramsey: your courage, your grace, your tenacity – you stood up when few had the guts to take on the power brokers. We owe you and your family so much – may Diosito help you to cope with the unjust and ruthless punishment imposed by our hypocritical drug/alcohol/tobacco-consuming society because you dared to challenge its racist leaders…

    Gregorio: Gracias – for helping us to honor the forgotten warriors.

    The Andrades in El Paso (formerly of Crystal City and Austin)

  3. Monica Acosta-Zamora says:

    My request for prayers are for Ramsey Muñiz, not only Ramsey also Leonard Peltier, Oscar Lopez Rivera, Mumia Abu-Jamal, People in Detention centers, and others unjustly encarcersated. I know it will do this population good. Ramsey has received so many blessings from the the spirit world. He says he wishes he could claim the visions and prophecies, he says”no vienen de mi, vienen del Cielo” (the visions/prophecies don’t come from me, they come from the heavens). -Tezcatlipoca (Ramsey Muñiz)
    Also, we must pray for the abbolishment of the OVERT GENOCIDE being committed against Native Indigenous people from all over Anahuac in the name of everything they(US government, Military Industrial Complex) claim, “National Security/War on Drugs” in our country and all over the world. Vulnerable Indigenous populations, 43 missing students of Ayotzinapa and families of all disappeared. End of military industry. Safety of our children, families, farmworkers, farmworker justice, and natural resources.
    Prayer for International Boycott of Corporations.

    God bless

    Monica Acosta-Zamora

    • Nikki says:

      Hi Monica – I am trying to find the person who wrote a poem called Sixth Sun Invocation. The poet is called Ramsey R. Muniz. Is this one and the same person as the man wrongly incarcerated?
      “I feel and see the footprints of my ancient walk in life
      And I speak of them to the shadows of my mind
      We have walked where earth meets sky
      And have walked within all five suns that I
      And my spiritual soul will walk once again as one
      I am here by destiny once again, not only to witness
      But to awaken myself to the long awaited Sixth Sun”.

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