Posts in Women of Color
CODA XVI: LLP (from April 21, 2019)
“After María” description.

“After María” description.

(First shared on private list serve on April 21, 2019) CODAS are becoming my thing. I’m in a new rhythm for sure. Go back to my last share, CODA XV for reference. I’m swimming new waves, and I don’t want to exploit myself, as I know how to do. Ja! I will be around but will come in-and-out with less rigidity on Sundays. I’m gonna' take it easy and steady and change some things. I don’t want to get dark on the state of the world on Easter Sunday, so I leave with a follow up on After María.

Playing in Shorts: No Short Cuts at TFF After Maria premieres next Sunday, April 28, 2019. Visit the page for times and screenings.

Nadia Hallgren, Lauren Cioffi and I met in a natural way. I’m still piecing my words on what the year 2018 delivered. I can honestly say I wanted so much for this story to be told. Several hurdles later the chance just came to be. And, this is just a peek of a much larger tentacle circumstance. For now, I’m grateful for living the experience with Nadia and Cioffi. Grateful too for the “community organizer” credit. And, thankful for Glenda, Kenia, and Sheila. They remain brave here in the City.

Jesus Lives.

Sol

By Chaliana

By Chaliana

CODA XII: Photo gallery | book week in Puerto Rico

Here CODA XII: Gallery of photos | Book week in Puerto Rico.

There’s something about sincere closeness, familial love, and streets you know that simply linger. 

Sit, breathe, and wait a bit. Take your thoughts and imagine yourself abruptly being taken by the ankles as you become a pendulum swinging side-to-side with force. You surrender to the sway. It begins to slow down until the swinging comes to a full soft stop. You drop to a body of water. When you come up for air some of those people and streets, the closeness, are out there and its safe again. That was Puerto Rico last week.

A bounty of grace and love.

NFAND CODA Episode 117 | Bernardo Ruiz, documentary director and producer
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Announcements:

Alexa Rivera @ the Bronx Music Heritage Center 11-11

Trina Bardusco has a new blog!

View for Death on sale.


Episode 117 | Harvest Season |  Screening @ DOC NYC 11-13 and 11-15 IFC Center

“Harvest Season” is about caregivers. I said I would dedicate these weeks to caregivers and their stories. This is a short story about the storyteller of California wine country, as seen and told through the ones that care for the harvest year-in-year-out. Arduous work. Dedicated focus with knowledge of respect for the seasons. Out in the wine country, anything can happen. A crop is never assured, as is nothing in life really, but gusto, bravado, and the need and will to carry on.

In his latest documentary feature “Harvest Season,” Bernardo again unfolds a multilayered story that points at U.S. immigration laws, labor history, and American history. The nuances come out of the stories as if they were made to boil only they surface naturally because knowledge is passed down from generation; sacrifice is what it takes to make it in the land business, and an entire industry would not be able to subsist without immigrant labor.

In Bernardo’s stories, there is always a moral compass appearing without effort. It comes one second at a time. As the scenes pass, fractions of a seconds end up as large lapses of beats, reasons, and purpose. Such is “Harvest Season.”

Bernardo reaps what he has sowed, which is a lot of humanity, dignity, and history to makes us proud.

Sol

www.harvestseasonmovie.com

www.viewfordeath.com


NFAND CODA Episode 116 | Minerva Urrutia, clinical psychologist, artist, activist, mentor
Picture taken from an article in  Latino Sports  by Nicole Perez.

Picture taken from an article in Latino Sports by Nicole Perez.

In this episode, Minerva Urrutia shares about what it means to be a caregiver, as it relates to the Puerto Rican immigrant experience, being married, having children, and giving up almost everything to provide for an aging parent. Her tale is straightforward, poised, tempered, and loving. She is history in the talking.

November is Caregiving month and View For Death | Paisaje Para La Muerte is set for Thursday, 1 November 2018, with a presentation reception and talkback with Professor Eunice Flemister at the Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos. See attached flyer in png format. The book was translated from English into Spanish by Marlène Ramírez-Cancio.

Grateful for Minerva’s time, consideration, and friendship.

Respect your elders.

Sol

Ebook on Amazon | Print copies on www.viewfordeath.com

www.nfand.com

Donate to 80grados, Prensasinprisa funding campaign.


Episode 115 | Carmen Matos, aka Bx Queen and caregiver
Carmen Matos - aka Bx Queen

Carmen Matos - aka Bx Queen

I met Carmen very recently at the Mott Haven Bar and Grill and almost instantly we got into a heart-to-heart talk about the experiences that have made us grow up and mature. We quickly realized we had both had the experience of being caregivers.

On she went to share her tale. A sad one, but also uplifting. Sometimes the darkest moments have splendor and therein stood our common ground. Her last line in this conversation is, “sometimes we have to fall to realize how strong we are when we get back up.” Word.

Unfortunately, falling seems to be a must in life and the hardest part is getting back on the road to forward. It is that journey of getting back up that I hold as the crux of the matter and feel compelled to help. The book I wrote is about just that, falling. Falling deep into grief, or as Professor Eunice Flemister told me in a recent talk, “the power of grief.” We so seldom expose it and talk about it; I feel we cheat ourselves out of a chance to connect with one another’s humanity.

It makes sense that Carmen is aka as the Bx Queen. She is stunning, tall, with piercing blue/green eyes, and warm. When you’re with her, you feel like she’s got you. I thank her for her candidness and tears, which are my own.

For the next few weeks, as lead up to share with the world a personal tale, I brace myself with bravery. Unveiling myself is a bit nutty, I haven’t always succeeded in the past when I have, but it is the only way to catch sincerity. And I won’t back down from that way of being. I want to help women caregivers in dire straights, and the only way I had to do that was to open myself for the purpose.

Carmen and the rest of the women voices I’ll be sharing with you all have that, grief, bravery, solid oak dignity, and heart.

Always from the heart.

Sol

www.viewfordeath.com

check it out

Episode 114 | Julio Pabón, on amending The Jones Act
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“Puerto Rico Flag Fingerprint country pride” by Pixabay is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Words and reasonings flow out of Julio Pabón with rhythm and feeling. He’s a natural storyteller. Here he delves into the history and particulars of The Jones Act. The long-standing maritime law creates a lockdown in the ports that has and continues to place an unjust economic burden on the people of Puerto Rico. He wants to go to Jacksonville for a National Day of Respect & Justice for Puerto Rico on October 26, 27, and 28, 2018. This is a non-partisan issue for Julio and his comrades, this is a human rights issue.


The central events will take place in Orlando on October 26 with a film showing; a rally in Kissimmee on October 27; closing with a symposium on The Jones Act in Jacksonville, Florida on October 28. We want Puerto Ricans, allies, and friends to do some kind of event wherever they live in the United States on The Jones Act and its impact on the island. Julio says that actions large and small count: share art, news, hold vigils, calls, and letters to local Congressional and Federal Senators #amendthejonesact, “please put the issue of Puerto Rico and The Jones Act on your agendas. Puerto Ricans in the island don't have a vote in our Federal elections, BUT WE DO!”


Sol


Episode 110 | Rita Cidre, entrepreneur, creative artist, founder of Anda Pa'l
RitaC-29.jpg

Anda Pa’l meaning: (slang) from the root word, anda pa’l carajo. Literal translation: walking to hell, either in first person or the action verb of andar (walking) referring to someone else literally walking to hell. Other translations that depend on context: “holy shit,” “holy moly,” “can’t be.” (pronounced like panda, but without the “p” / pa’l, like the word pal as in buddy).

It’s true what they say, home is where the heart is…my heart has been in Spain, Denmark, Berlin, Los Angeles, Samaná, Panama, Mexico, Whitesburg/ Kentucky, New Orleans, New York, and of course Puerto Rico. We can’t occupy the same space at the same time, it’s against the laws of physics, but the heart, on the other hand, can travel far and wide. Haven’t you felt it?

It’s a mystery to me but the feelings are so real. I cry about these things, missing places, and people. I do. Actually often. I reach out to people and open myself up. It doesn’t always work. I’ve made a fool of myself often enough, but it’s just I believe and feel that little gestures do matter. The effort is all about my heart telling me to do it, actions, poems, gifts, letters, other things. Lately, it’s a bit disheartening but I keep it at, one reason I do this talk show.

And so I come to Rita Cidre, who in a short talk brought me back to remember that little actions matter and the heart can take you places. Anda Pa’l her own business of canvas bags and pouches started out because she missed home. And home for her is Puerto Rico. Rita picked up witty slang sayings and phrases and gave them life. She and I share several things in common all having to do with having our heart split into a lot of pieces, each one for a different person that we love. I love she created something tangible to assuage missing Puerto Rico and Caribbean life. I get it. I’m right there with her and so are thousands and thousands of others. Her business has reached the globe and she’s managed to cultivate a following of people wanting that tangible connection to the island.

Rita brings some interesting points about the diaspora she represents. Why doesn’t she go back? Why don’t I go back? We left for what reasons? How is it different now, post-Hurricane Maria? Everything is different now and a new conversation between island and stateside Puerto Ricans is emerging. Nothing we talk about has definite answers, but some definite feelings of making it possible to be here and there somehow. It’s all about the heart, just like her project, a labor of love, a self-taught artist with feelings so deep she has touched the Puerto Rican heart far and wide.

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Sol

Episode 101 | Rosa, undocumented, mother, student

Episode 101 is dedicated to Rosa. I met her almost two years ago through a mutual friend. She’s one of the most decent and giving people I’ve met in recent time. Always a smile, always sending a blessing, and always ready to listen. Without having she gives. Lessons.

You will hear her honesty and sweetness in this talk I recorded somewhere back in time before ICE came and took her husband.

She hid. She lives and does things but kinda’ has to move around carefully because they might take her too and separate the family. She has three children. An older son who had to drop school to work and provide for his mother, two sisters, the little one loves to swim, and the rest.

Rosa’s countenance is marked by despair and desperation, and listening to her dreams last night as I edited made me sad for all of us.

To protect her, I edited out spots from the conversation.

These days I feel I live with a permanent heavy heart for all the heartless shit that’s going on. Crude racism, prejudice, dangerous ignorance, and the list goes on. There is money galore for bombs, guns, nuclear arsenals, plans for war, and death and destruction.

And there’s little to none for the “least, the last, and the lost,” the mission of the Promised Land Covenant Church in Parkchester the Bronx. I met those good people this past Thursday and I can’t shake off the words.

Little gestures matter. Rosa and her family need help.

Here’s the Go Fund Me page to find out more.

From the heart and with love,

Sol

Episode 100 | View For Death, my first book, Trina Bardusco talks with me
View from Herlev Hospital, Denmark 2015. Photo by Soldanela Rivera

View from Herlev Hospital, Denmark 2015. Photo by Soldanela Rivera

For episode 100 I asked my dear friend Trina Bardusco, writer, director, producer, entrepreneur, and duende to speak with me about the book project I’ve been working on for the past three years, View For Death, in memory of my late husband, Dan Larsen.

Yes, not a light title, but those of you who know me know there is really nothing light about me. I feel, think, express, and give myself from the core of my being.

How it came to be that I get to announce this self-published labor of love nearly on the eve of his of his passing on 17 April 2015 is perhaps the wind from the other realm. I don’t know, but maybe. Three is the triad: the beginning, the middle, and the end; or birth, life, and death; or past, present, and future.

The number three also corresponds to the three generous women who came through almost at the last minute and helped me realize my vision and bring me to the finish line. My Belle du Jour Lara Gallardo, graphic designer extraordinaire. The fantastical lady of words, my Spanish translator and soul-sister, Marlène Ramírez-Cancio. And, last but not least, my little sister’s mother and my friend, Damarys Reyes-Vicente, the Spanish copy editor. Without these three women, I wouldn’t have been able to make it. 

So much happens in the artistic indie journey right? I nearly gave up after Hurricane María, which for all sort of circumstances wiped out my entire budget. I had barely enough to pay Lara something, Marlène and Damarys worked for pro-bono. I sat and meditated on all I had accomplished in the past three years and sought to seek and believe that even though I had no money, there was a way to make the book a reality.

View For Death is a memoir dedicated to caregivers all over the world. The book is not only for caregivers, but for anyone who’s lost someone they love. I also hope the book can serve anyone who wants to find a way to solace during a grieving time.

So long as this book sells 50% of the money from sales are destined for the VFD Fund. To start, I aim to help women caregivers in dire straights in the United States and Puerto Rico. If all goes, the project will evolve to expand and include men caregivers in dire straights and ultimately, move on to other places, but the journey of a thousand steps begins with step one.

So. View For Death will drop on Amazon on 17 May 2018 as an electronic book, there will be print on demand, and print copies will come later in the season. After the exclusive period with Amazon, View For Death will be on digital platforms where books sell. 'Till then I'll be promoting the book. In the meantime, listen to my heart-to-heart with Trina and visit www.viewfordeath.com.

More to come…

With strength and honor

Soldanela