A GIFT FROM LIVING IN THEIR SHOES...
From the beginning of time the moment of conception, I have been living in their shoes. All those womyn who have come before me, born out of wedlock, from a prostitute, an adopted daughter reared by family members never knowing exactly who I was or where I came from. At the age of 35, I feel like I have been through it all, abortion, domestic violence, a statistic of life, a teenage mom, a role model, an educator, a daughter, a womyn of color stripped layer by layer of self, identity and love from abuse. A female child already judged without having a name, a personality, an individual. I was born on May 6th, daughter of a prostitute, daughter of a pimp, born in a brothel in the Dominican Republic my adoptive mother owned. I was born into a community of women, healing, and loving. Sex and money surrounded me. Who was I to become but my mother’s daughter? A prostitute like my mother? or a pimp like my dad? But the universe had other plans for me so I became a gift…. A gift to the woman who adopted me because she could not have children of her own, a gift to the young women I work with and too all the sisters I have touched and continue to touch on their journey of self healing and transformation.
Chicken soup, hot teas, after an abortion or pregnancy to repair your wounds, lemon and salt to cure your children’s scratches and wounds, rubbing menthol & camphor to cure their colds, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, peppermint tea for period pains and menstrual cramps, aspirin, hot Malta & nutmeg as a form of contraception and abortion, & reading the coffee cup, saints and candles, altars, herbs for family planning---Welcome to my life!
Through my veins runs the blood of powerful womyn, curanderas, midwives, indigenous healers, & brujas. I watched my mother and all the womyn in my family take care of their families and their community(mind, body and spirit). I have also watched them struggle to hold on to their knowledge, pass down information, and continue to practice their traditions. The resiliency that exists within the women of the world, to retain and reclaim their innate ability to heal their bodies and transform their lives is why in 2008 I co-launched the first, Womyn’s Health Cooperative- “ACHE (Alternative Cooperative for Self -Healing & Empowerment” in the South Bronx; inspired by the women in the Zapatista community of Chiapas Mexico. ACHE is a cooperative that counters the existing models of health institutions, where women are not clients or patients, but active participants in their well being & addresses the serious healthcare problem in our countries. As a result, I have done delegations and healing retreats for women activist & organizers in Puerto Rico Vieques, Cuba, New Orleans Hurricane Katrina, Haiti and the Dominican Republic disaster relief. Pulse Wire will support me in expanding this model globally.