My childhood was greatly influenced by Fela. I don’t know when exactly she came into our lives. All I know is that my parents separated when I was a baby and my mom had to work. And then one day, voilà, there was Fela.
The relationship between my mom and Fela was a very complimentary one——two women with needs who were able to help each other out. Fela had found a home with us and earned money to send to her parents in Piedras Negras. And my mom had someone she trusted to care for me while she was working. Plus Fela kept our home clean as well as full of Mexican aromas coming from the kitchen and the sounds of the ranchera music she played full blast when ironing.
This went on for a few years. Then Fela discovered she was pregnant and everything changed. For a while she went back to Mexico then back to San Antonio then she was gone again. For years we didn’t hear from her until one day my mom unexpectedly ran in to her. It made my mom happy to see Fela again and she wanted to share that happiness with me. So one evening we went to her tiny little house. The living room was dominated by a big TV set and on top of that TV was a huge photograph of me as a child. It was a shock—after all the years that had past and despite having lost contact with one another, Fela still kept the memory of me close to her. It was and continues to be one of the most touching experiences of my life. I left for Italy a short time afterwards but my mom kept up with Fela and even went to her son’s wedding.
When the Trump administration decided to use ICE to take small children away from their mothers only to lock them in cages, I was shocked and disgusted. But what I felt most of all was pain–—what if something like that had happened to Fela and her baby?
Separating a mother from her child is evil and against the laws of nature. It is also highly misogynist as it belittles the very foundation of motherhood. And it shows a total lack of respect for human life…the damage done to those children is irreversible. As just thinking about it all throws my biorhythms into tilt, I will stop here but with the invitation to read The Lace Collar a post about Ruth Ginsburg and her fight for gender equality.
Related: Single motherhood has grown so common in America that today 80 percent of single-parent families are headed by single mothers — nearly a third live in poverty.” + Parents of 545 children still not found three years after Trump separation policy