Est. 2019


A latina centered storytelling community. 

Listen to our SEPT FEATURE

Est 2019


Learn about ROSA

Ramona Donatta


Rodriguez Aviles 

Position: Mi Dona

Representing: Anasco Puerto Rico---> Lower East Side of Manhattan, Public Housing.  

Education: 03rd grade, honorary Juris Doctorate via the author. 

Mother: 07

​​Phrases: "You never walk alone, you walk with god." 

Religion: Catholic --> Pentecostal




Its maybe 100 degrees in the hot sun, your wearing your only garment, toiling on a
coffee farm, you have a 3rd grade education, you can’t read well, you have no running
water, no car, no electricity, no radio but you’ve got ears to hear stories about the
mainland and a heart to tell you to dream of a prosperity that’s your birthright, you are
my grandmother.

Born in 1923 to illiterate landowning parents’, coffee was out, and sugar was, in and
they couldn’t adjust fast enough. Modern technology brought a hospital for childbirth,
your mother goes for the first time after six plus kids. You’re standing maybe up to your
knees in dirt and hear them, she’s gone, you hear the youngest sibling crying in the
background, your mothers died.

16 years old, body bruised, still can’t read have spent three years ducking the blows
and hands of your half-sister’s husband and the depression doesn’t seem like its ever
going to end.

You run, no one’s coming looking for a landless, illiterate, poor, servant girl. You’re

18 years old, war is coming, you find a place, not an opportunity a place, alongside your
brother watching the girls with opportunity stroll into the university, you cook breakfast
and wash their clothes.
Mass migration tells your first husband with a nervous tick, there’s relief from the stress
of unemployment in NYC, he doesn’t last in Manhattan.
You hear the baby cry in the background, you know he’s gone, at least you can read
now, too bad it’s in Spanish, which is the now wrong language, you are illiterate again.

You go to church cus siempre caminas con dios

Church helps you find an apartment; you meet the super, the first time you have your
own wings he can sense it.
He clips them, marries you, twenty years your senior. Your body bruised, broken and
purple and pregnant lays on the first new bed that was ever yours, in public housing,
and cries.

Your husband, gets sick, he is moved to a nursing home where it costs a day’s pay to
travel to and you are unemployed. Every visit you see his dignity stripped, every visit
he’s weaker, making you feel more and more alone. Cold bus rides and not enough to

On the bus back from one of those trips is when you likely decided to take the bus the
OTHER way to DC to march with Dr. King.

Looking over at his little hand, school changed “Juan” to “John” and he was the most
American thing you ever had, you wanted him to have a shot, even if it was in the dark.
Its maybe 100 degrees in the hot sun, you’re on welfare, you’re wearing your only
garment, your only shoes, you are carrying some pocket money but not enough to get
back to NYC if your separated you lost your way home, if the dogs bite you, you won’t
be able to clean the house anymore, you won’t be able to change any diapers anymore,
or cook any meals anymore.

You march forward anyways. You close your eyes looking at the long mall and the
monument and the great distance of the speaker, you open your eyes.
Its cold, air conditioning, on, you open your eyes there I stand, little almonds eyes like
yours, ivory skin, very northern accent, handing you a roll of paper.

“Abuela, tell them to call you Dr. Rodriguez now”.
The dream, you had, in a person.
I whisper, “We did it.”
I wheel you out, you can no longer stand.
We bought you so many dresses.
But you never forget to teach me the power of the people who only have one.

#latinaherstory #september #2023