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Between Autonomy and You

by Andrew Tonkovich

Thanks to Carol Tuch, President of Women For: Orange County, for organizing the 2023 Suffrage Day Celebration, that organization’s singularly inspiring, motivating and affirming annual honoring of some of our favorite people. The keynote remarks, on the strangling of autonomy, from trans youth to reproductive rights, were delivered by legendary radical lawyer Mia Yamamoto.

The three honorees were welcomed by a full house at The Hacienda in Santa Ana on August 26, and this editor knows great material when he hears it.  All three --- Beckie Gomez, Ameena Mirza Qazi, and Gema Suarez --- allowed Citric Acid to reproduce their acceptance speeches here, only slightly edited and absent the loud applause from an admiring audience. Note Gema Suarez’s inspired repurposing of the odious Norman Vincent Peale’s philosophy of “possibilitarianism.”  No doubt he was spinning in his grave.

The Suffrage Day Celebration was founded in 1981 by Women’s Network Alert and perpetuated by activists Anna Freeman and Vivian Hall. Over the years nearly 200 community activists have been honored for work consistent with that of Women For, a feminist organization dedicated to advancing human and civil rights, peace, social justice, education, health care, and the environment.

This issue features a robust mash-up of art and even more art, poetry, prose, activism, comix, political artifacts, memoir, and commentary, with the usual themes and through-lines readers expect but which are all hopefully still a bit unexpected. An OC writer’s dispatch from a Taylor Swift concert? A review of Jesus Revolution? Vans tennis shoes repurposed by a Payómkawichum artist-activist? A visit to Trader Sam’s? Notes on The OC? A celebration of a new novel set in a fictionalized Huntington Beach? A Q & A with playwright Octavio Solis on his Quixote Nuevo? That’s only some of this issue of OC’s unlikeliest online literary arts and culture journal. We’re joyfully autonomous, idiosyncratic, curious, and yet always striving for community and solidarity as modeled by some of our favorite OC organizations and individuals.

Special shout-out to interns Emma McCandless and Kane Le Hong, for their work, respectively, on proofreading, editing, and writing a press release; and coordinating social media outreach.

Thanks to managing editor Jaime Campbell. And thanks to you, for reading, for sharing our latest with friends, and for donating to support this journal, please. Your tax-deductible contributions are welcome today.

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