To Former Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, Arizona State Superintendant of Public Instruction, John Huppenthal, and the Tucson Unified School District
I am writing to protest discriminatory actions on your part that amount to defamation of my character and that of my mother, Rosario Morales, as Latina writers: You have not placed a single one of our books on your list of titles to be banned from the public school curriculum!
It’s true that we are Puerto Rican, not Mexican, but you banned our compatriot Martin Espada. I am not from any of the First Nations of Arizona, and it’s also true that the Tainos have never lived in Arizona in large numbers, (though you did bring a bunch of us in the 1920s to pick cotton,) but you banned Sherman Alexie who is from the Pacific Northwest.
Living with my father, for the first time I am managing my health in full view of a family member. Until she moved out at eighteen, my daughter lived with my chronic illness and the series of catastrophic crises it routinely generates. She had to navigate the choppy seas of a childhood full of emergencies and the vast doldrums of my exhaustion, inevitably more of a caretaker than she should have had to be.
In that world of impending shipwrecks, avoiding the tips of icebergs was enough to handle. The deep, cold, roots of my condition, the massive flanks and fissures, were places I went alone, in the dark, filling notebooks in sleepless nights of poring over self- help books and websites and list-serves organized by shared and overlapping diagnoses, drafting new protocols,(liver cleansing, chelation, alkilinity, rotation diets, EMF shielding) looking for explanations, or at least relief, consulting one narrowly focused healer after another, trying out the pills, potions and practices that resonated, tracking changes (seizures, menstrual cycles, sleep and appetite and pain,mood swings, dreams, the clarity of my mind,) traveling by sonar.
The people by my bedside saw the cups of bitter tea and bowls of pills, but not the insomniac research behind them.
Aurora Levins Morales is a disabled and chronically ill, community supported writer, historian, artist and activist. It takes a village to keep her blogs coming. To become part of the village it takes, donate here.
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