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Don’t Know the Story of Mexican Miner, Joaquín Murrieta? There’s a Podcast for You

Regardless of age, there are certain stories that stick with us for a lifetime. Some of us grew up with stories of a family of wizards in Greenwich Village or a father and son from East Los Angeles aspiring for a better life, and these have left a lasting impression on some of us. 

Likewise, Emmy-winning Peter Murrieta and standout actor Richard Cabral remember a story that left a lasting impression on them — and are now ardently wanting to share it with the public.

Murrieta remembers his days in Tucson, AZ when his tias and other family members would talk about their ancestor, notorious vaquero Joaquín Murrieta. As this story was passed on to him, he further passed it onto his son, even taking him to an East Los Angeles mural more than 400 miles away. 

The story of Joaquín Murrieta has been a story that has been told and retold for over 150 years. It chronicles the outlaw life of Murrieta, a Sonoran miner who encounters racism in his quest for the American Dream following the California Gold Rush. This dream quickly turns into a nightmare as his brother and him are accused of stealing a horse, leading to a path of violence between them and their Yanqui accusers.

“For Mexican culture in the United States, this is where it started,” Cabral told mitú. “It is one of the most important stories because it is where we first see our power.”

Along with empowering him early in his life, the Joaquín Murrieta story continues to encourage Richard Cabral in his journey. Known for his regular appearances in “American Crime” and “Mayans M.C.,” Emmy-nominated actor and writer was looking for something more impactful when the opportunity to voice Murrieta presented itself.

“There had come a time where enough was enough and Joaquin’s story came at a perfect time where I was asking myself what I wanted to do next,” he recounts. “I had just come off a show and I needed something that fed my soul.”

Adapted from a Peacemaker Award finalist novel, the “Blood & Gold” podcast from Realm has presented this opportunity for Cabral and Murrieta, a teaching moment for Mexican-American youth and a chance to reclaim a formative story for our community.

“This story reminds us of the bravery and fierceness of our people. It reminds us that we’re warriors,” Cabral adds. “If you know where your people come from — the power of your gente — and what they did, I believe that will make you a better person.

Likewise, Murrieta remembers what this story meant for him growing up. “Through this story, I was taught to be and want what’s fair. To not be quiet, to take a stand.” he remembers. “Living these lessons and now telling this story has been a leap of faith. It is thinking: ‘I’m going to fight. Do I think anybody will join me? I don’t know, but I do know if I don’t, then I’m letting those who depend on me down.’”

Without a doubt, telling a story like this has felt like one is going against the grain and Murrieta is not the only one to feel that this podcast has come with challenges. Regardless, authenticity and truth have remained a standard.

“As a true artist, you’re constantly hitting a wall. You’re always pushing yourself. And people want you to stay in your lane. The podcast world… This shit is amazing,“ Cabral states.  “I think it’s a way to tap into our gente. Who cares how you tell the story— books, TV, etc.— you just tell the story because we don’t get many chances to tell them. There are stories out there that, at the end of day, didn’t really do anything for us. But really, how  much complaining can you do until you do something about it?”

Cabral continues, “And you just acknowledge that, as well as the new mediums. Again, I love this podcast world because we were able to really stick to telling the truth and had the liberty to tell our story.”

Similarly, Murrieta appreciates the liberty provided to the team behind this project and incorporates it into his work.

“There’s one apparent deviation from the story that is already known by the public that was written in the book and is now in the podcast and that’s the version I was told by my family growing up,” he remembers. “And I can’t wait for people to hear that version. At the end of the day, I hold onto just telling the truth and knowing that everything else will sort itself out.”

As for what comes next for both, Murrieta does not discard further collaboration with Cabral. 

“I’m sure my agent would be thrilled to hear us talking and also a little scared with what we’re going to cook up next,” he suggests.

Stay tuned for the podcast’s finale on January 26, 2023, and catch up on current episodes here or whatever platform you use to listen to podcasts!

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