Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Thankful for Positive Feminist Role Models by Juliana Aragón Fatula

Thankful for Positive Feminist Role Models.

My s-hero, Gloria Anzaldúa, one of the great icons of Latina Feminist Queer Theory Literature said, “A woman who writes has power, and a woman with power is feared.”  My tía Emma Aragón Medina was my feminist role model and I know she would be proud of the educator I’ve become. I wrote this poem to thank her.

There are two roads going nowhere, going somewhere

Some of us get lost in the dark with no guide

Some of us follow the way of the ones before us

who travelled the path and found the way

My tía goes to the University every day to become a teacher

I watch her grab her books, purse, head out the door, to catch her ride to Pueblo.

Someday, I’m going to catch my ride.  
I love writing. It is my sweet medicine. Whenever life gets too heavy, or to light. When I feel like I’m going to stop breathing if I don’t sit down and write. When I can’t sleep at night because I must write. That’s when I’m happiest.

I love to read, and if you want to become a great writer, you must first be a book lover. I found my unique voice from studying great writers I admire: Sandra Cisneros, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Sherman Alexie, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Shakespeare. But the feminist role models in my life molded me into the strong woman I am today.

I’m a performance artist, a teacher, a writer, and a poet. I’ve published two poetry books and a chap book.  I’ve performed in schools, nursing homes, coffee shops, book stores, libraries, the Colorado Governor’s Mansion, Universities, in Colorado and Utah; also for Hispanic Awareness Month for the Department of Defense I told my stories in Sicily, Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, los Azores, Kuwait, Bahrain, Camp Doho, Dubai, Abu Dhabi; and  I’ve written a couple of children’s plays that were produced at local schools. I edited an anthology for the Pueblo School of Arts and Sciences, I co-directed the Denver Indian Thespians; and  I spent a decade with Su Teatro in Denver learning about my history, culture, language and people.

I’m an artist. I need music, drums, dancing, shouting. I treat writing like a sport. When I teach writing workshops, we chant and cheer. We get in a huddle and put our hands in the center and yell, “Uno, dos, tres! Write! Write! Write! We sing Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, everything gonna be alright and stomp and clap to I’m a poet and I know it and I’m gonna’ do the write thang!”

My students  ask for advice, or send me poems they wrote.  Now they are seniors in high school and freshmen in college and remember the Chicano History and feminist literature that I shared with them. I teach my students  to think about social justice, global culture and language, When I was a child, there was  no celebration of Chicano History,  Black History, no writers of color in the books I read.  

The first time I walked into the public library and saw the rows and rows of books, I felt perplexed. Who wrote all these books? I was determined to write a book and my name would sit on those shelves in this library along with Shakespeare, Whitman, Plath, Woolf.

I’m a writer; I’m going to write until someone tells me to shut the pharmacy and back door. I want you to laugh and cry when you read my words. I want to zap your brains with sweet memories and love. 

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