Henry Barajas has been doing great work in circles I frequent for a while now. Currently, he’s in the closing stages of a kickstarter for what looks like his best project yet. Here’s some of the amazing art, and Henry with the details.
A resonant, neglected slice of American history is told for the first time, in graphic-novel format. Featuring art by Jason “Gonzo” Gonzalez, edited by Claire Napier, and script and lettering by me, Henry Barajas: journalist, comedian, author, native Tucsonan, and great-grandson of the story’s main character, Tata Rambo, aka Ramon Jaurigue.
La Voz De M.A.Y.O. is the true story of Ramon Jaurigue, an orphan and WWII veteran who co-founded the Mexican, American, Yaqui, and Others (M.A.Y.O.) organization, which successfully lobbied the Tucson City Council to improve living and working conditions for members of the local Pascua Yaqui tribe. Largely due to Ramon’s activism, both in M.A.Y.O. in and with Model Cities Program, Yaqui were successfully integrated into the expanding metropolis of Tucson: families bought property, roads and sidewalks were built, and sewage systems installed. Ramon and his colleagues even founded a night school to help adults learn English and established the region’s first low-cost clinic to offer birth control.
Untiring in their efforts for equal rights and opportunities, Ramon and M.A.Y.O.eventually secured official U.S. government recognition for the Pascua Yaqui tribe. Local government didn’t give up their plans to bridge Tucson to the west coast and taxpayer dollars to the Old Pueblo’s indigenous people without a fight. The Carter Administration was skeptical of the Yaqui’s eligibility, so it took compromise from Ramon and the tribe. While trying to keep 12,000 families together, Ramon struggled with taking care of his own family life.
Utilizing newspaper clippings, interviews with surviving MAYO members, and Ramon’s authored articles, La Voz De M.A.Y.O. dramatizes the remarkable life and achievements of my great-grandfather—and in so doing, tells the story not just of a single man, but of a family, a tribe, a nation.
It’s an honor to follow in my great-grandfather’s footsteps. He was a writer in his own right by documenting what was happening in the community and trying to do something about it. I wish I could’ve finished this before he passed away last October. But I’m confident he was proud of my and my family’s effort.
This is a uniquely personal project focused on an area of history I had no idea about. The creators are top notch, the art looks amazing and I’m fascinated to hear more of the story. The project has a week to run as I write this and has just over $700 still to fund. If you can, please pledge. I will be.