grown ups are like that....

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Separate is Never Equal

Dear Julian and Valentina,

Last night I met an amazing woman! Her name is Sylvia Mendez. When she was just a little girl the local school board wouldn't let her or her brothers attend school in their neighborhood because she was Mexican? Can you believe that, my loves?


Her father took the case to the courts and they won! Because of Sylvia the California schools were desegregated in 1947.

She travels the country encouraging children to get an education, and in 2011 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor.

Well guess what? We met her last night! She was excited to learn that I was also from California and said she was just visiting San Jose where mama and I grew up.

We then saw a whole play about her life called Separate is Never Equal. The Rochester Latino Theater Company did a wonderful job, and the city of Rochester issued an official proclamation recognizing Sylvia's efforts to improve education nationwide. Now the Rochester City School District will be teaching their students about her life. Bridget and I hope that the Brockport School District will follow suit.

We bought a book about her life for you to share. She signed it to you both, so take good care of it.  She is a very import person, and when you read the story remember all she did for the Latino community.

With love,
Tia Chrissy & Cousin Bridget


Sunday, February 28, 2016


I have the window wide open today. The air rushes in and I take great gulps.

My friend writes every Sunday. The words flow from her onto the page and she feels lighter. She has processed. She has created.


When I was pregnant with my children each would shove little feet up into my ribs on the right side. Sometimes it was a hard jab and other times slow, persistent pressure. Either way, my lungs were compromised and air was hard to hold onto. I'd stretch and wiggle until I could breathe properly again only for their foot to once again find that comfortable place that made me choke and gasp for air.

When they were born I could breathe with ease almost immediately.

It is so easy to compare writing to birth. Of course it's been done. Of course it's cliche. Hackneyed.

But isn't it true that you can breathe better after an essay, story, or poem is done? Our  "babies" are out there now, no more foot in the rib.


Today I imagine my friend sitting at her computer with a cup of coffee. Her window is open and she watches the sun next to the Austrian crystal that hangs there. Words flow.

Poems emerge.

She can breathe.