Pero, m’ija, where did you get that from?

Pero, m’ija, where did you get that from? in Daring to Write: Contemporary Narratives by  Dominican Women, Erika M. Martínez (Ed.), University Georgia Press, 2016.

In early 1997, Mami became obsessed.

“M’ija, ¿y de dónde saca’te ‘eso’?” she muttered in disbelief. On the phone, she’d accompany the inquiry with a “chuipe”—the Dominican version of a tisk—followed by a pregnant pause. If we were face to face, she’d shake her head. She soon stopped, however, maybe because of frustration or forgetfulness. And frustrated she was: she must have stopped shaking her head after growing tired of her failed attempts to educate me during this period, giving me, for instance, a much-delayed lesson on the birds and the bees. To my horror, she was now telling me how much she’d liked un güevo back in her day. Or saying, with regret, que se le había ido “el tiro por la culata” with her sternness. She thought her restrictive attitude about me dating in my youth had backfired; Mami especially lamented forbidding me from seeing Henri, that Haitian guy in Brooklyn who she was now convinced was a real macho and would have provided a preventative cure to “my problem.” Maybe she stopped shaking her head simply because she didn’t remember this was one of the options for showing disapproval. Her memory was already giving off intermittent signs of exhaustion three years prior to an early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis…

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Cotidiano e invisible: notas acerca del documental “Causas y Azares”

Published in Cubaposible, March 2018

“En Cuba ahora mismo se está reescribiendo, a espaldas de la población diría yo, la Constitución. Y en la Constitución está expresada qué cosa es el matrimonio. Se define como entre un hombre y una mujer. Bueno, pues estamos en un momento crítico donde tendríamos nosotros que intervenir y decir: ‘Esperen, si están escribiendo la Constitución, definan la Constitución de una forma diferente, como la unión legal entre dos personas, la unión entre personas. Eso nos permitiría a nosotros establecer demandas que no vayan en contra de la Constitución.”

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Ilia Calderón’s Promotion At Univision Matters When It Comes To Black Representation In Latino Media

With the appointment of rock star news journalist Ilia Calderón, to co-anchor the primetime “Noticiero Univisión,” racial justice and media activists have scored a monumental victory.
Starting in December, Calderón will succeed the legendary María Elena Salinas to host alongside the iconic Jorge Ramos. This is unprecedented here, and probably everywhere, except in parts of Africa and the Caribbean. Noticiero Univisión’s new co-anchor is Black.

Calderón and I were teens when, in 1987, Salinas became co-anchor to Ramos, who took the post just a year prior. Both are white and of Mexican extraction. Growing up, neither Calderón’s native Colombia nor my Dominican Republic had news anchors that reflected us.

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Immigrant Issues in Gotham Gazette

“The Anti Anti-Immigrant Movement”, Gotham Gazette, August ’01

“High-achieving students, but undocumented immigrants”, Gotham Gazette, July ’01

“Census 2000 And The New Diversity”, Gotham Gazette, June ’01

“The Immigrant Vote”, Gotham Gazette, May ’01

“English Classes”, Gotham Gazette, April’01

“When immigrants are sick and uninsured”, Gotham Gazette, March ’01

“LIFE and real life”, Gotham Gazette, February ’01

O Pente de Conexão com África

Published in Revista da ABPN, v. 1, n. 3 – nov. 2010 – fev. 2011, p. 251-254.

Original submission in Spanish.

A morte de Francisco Ayrá/Francisco Quintiliano e a subsequente entrega dos pentes esculpidos por este humilde e brilhante artista, por sua viúva Berna, é o centro deste belo presente literário. Com este legado, herança à suas netas e netos, desenrola-se Os Nove Pentes D’África, da escritora Cidinha da Silva, brasileira e mineira, para ser mais precisa. A história que gira em torno da morte do patriarca e dos contos familiares que sua partida nos coloca parece não ser novidade. Mas este conhecido começo, a morte para falar da vida, é o único comum da historia…


You Used to Be a Slave

Published in Acentos Review, August 2017

“¿Y a tí, que te importa, negra de mierdaaaa? Si tú ante’ era e’clava y ahora te la quiere da’ de gente!” And what the fuck is it to you, shitty negress you? You used to be a slave and you now wanna pretend you’re somebody.

His words, flying eastward–through the half-closed windows of his car and my aptly-named Cielito Lindo Beetle Bug–sliced the dry June air as the sun showed signs of exhaustion for another shift of hustle, one of the two-hundred and fifteen days it appeared each year in South Florida.  Robbed of any possible retort, I sat on ice for an eternal minute and slowly revealed a dignified cinnamon stick of a middle finger. It didn’t occur to me that he could have pulled out a .45-caliber handgun in return, a common gesture in road rage incidents in these parts. Instead, he sped off as soon as he could, with eyes bulging in horror.  My silent expression a warning and a threat.

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Flores de Mayo

Published in La Galería Magazine, September 2016

We unfriended one other on Facebook faster than it took for us to become friends in the first place. I was the first to do it. It was the week after we’d reconnected in May 2014, after almost thirteen years of being distant, with tacit estrangement, since right after 9/11. Back then she’d called me after nearly two years, like a journalist contacting a source.

“¿Entonces parece que los niuyourquinos no son tan fríos como se dice?” She’d wanted confirmation about whether New Yorkers were as cold as they’re thought to be. Apparently, after the attacks, all she could do was call me to get a quote.

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Let’s Talk About Sexo

Published in Colorlines, December 21, 2005

Why Spanish-language radio beats Howard Stern in ratings.

It’s 7:00 Monday morning. On a Spanish-language radio station, DJs Luis Jiménez and Moonshadow tell listeners, “Llámanos y cuéntanos lo que sucedió en el fin de semana” (“Call us to tell us what happened over the weekend”). The responses?

Male Caller: “This weekend, my wife and I finally found the chica we’ve been seeking for a threesome; she was too nervous to go through with it, but she said she wants to learn and my wife’s willing to teach her, bro’!”

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