Poetry: “Courage of our Ancestors”, Featuring Image: “Maya Angelou”

Courage of our ancestor
My grandmother was named after one of the Adelitas
in the Mexican revolution
The dresses she sewed for my sisters and cousins,
were Art
We walked for miles,
in the Colonia de San Andres hills,
selling her dresses door to door
She was home for me,
an inner home
With her I found joy, emotional nourishment
I took her to Acapulco once
We breakfasted outdoors,
next to a turquoise green sea
We ate chilaquiles
and the most delicious ice cream I have tasted,
made from fresh coconuts
I bought her soft brown spiraled seashells
It was all she asked for
In the 80’s, our sister Patricia paid a coyote
to get our grandmother across the border,
from Tijuana to Los Angeles
Family pitched in with money for this journey
I gave $200
Her priest gave a santa cruz blessing
She was squeezed tight with another immigrant, a youth,
as the lid of a trunk of a car was closed on her.
A viejita praying she would not die
I was scared for her
It was not criminal for our Abuelita
to want to see her grandchildren
Her only motivation for crossing
She never talked much of the rigors of this crossing

She talked once of my grandfather Sixto,
not giving her a document she needed,
to cross the border
Intentional withholding,
so he could have power and control over her
Revenge for leaving him
I recall playing with red geraniums,
when I was 6
She said, This is your grandfather, Sixto
A saxophone player
I never saw him again
He died a few years later
My Abuelita died in her house, in Mexico City
400 people came to her funeral
I could not go.
I have never visited her grave
I feel too sad to see it
On a hot July afternoon
walking by Chicano Park,
I saw a mural of an Adelita painted underneath the bridge
She was wearing a long white cotton skirt
and a rifle
I felt then that my grandmother
was in a sanctuary, a deeply peaceful place
Her courage still inspires


Written By: Rocio Ramirez

About the Author: Rocio Ramirez has a Masters in Counseling Psychology and a Certificate in Expressive arts therapies. She has recently presented on Sandplay therapy and collage, with Latina domestic violence survivors, at the Institute for Violence, Abuse and Trauma. She is always happiest when she is next to the sea.

Maya Angelou_Visual Arts_Acrylic on Wood


Visual Art “Maya Angelou” By: Ana Lazaro

About the Artist: Ana Lazaro is a San Francisco based artist. She considers herself a world citizen and has, since childhood, had a passion for capturing moods and emotions through her portraiture. Ana’s current work is inspired by her desire to celebrate empowered women making a difference across the globe.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s