The ongoing erasure of Indigenous people

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Cover of Hamilton soundtrack

Don’t get me wrong. I love the musical Hamilton. Most of the in-your-face lyrics have been tattooed on my brain since I first heard Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton exclaim that he is not throwin’ away his…shot! I’ve already seen the show twice. Among the COVID-19 casualties for my family and me is a canceled trip to New York City to take my niece to see Hamilton. The rap battles are brilliant, and the story of how a “bastard, orphan, son of a whore” grows up to be a “hero and a scholar” truly is remarkable. So yeah, I get…


Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Truth?

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Courtesy of Steve with Unsplash.com

Cancel me this. Cancel me that. Just don’t cancel if it promotes my beliefs, please. Fuck political correctness! That is, of course, unless you’re talking about America’s founding fathers and foundations, which have no place for 21st-century judgment. Tout, don’t criticize, America hater. “Free speech for me, not for thee,” remember?

In my rock star drinking days, I might have won a drinking contest for the number of times “cancel culture” peppered speeches at the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC). President Trump declared (or at least his speechwriters did) that they want to “fully restore patriotic education to our schools.”…


Rethinking the “Latino Vote” and Hispanic Identity

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Photo by Daniel Gregoire from Unsplash

“How long has your family been in the United States?” my then boyfriend’s aunt asked me when I first met her. I didn’t know how to answer. No one ever asked me that question growing up in southern Colorado with a bunch of other brown-skinned, dark-haired people with Spanish surnames, like me.

To this day, I can’t remember what I said to my boyfriend’s aunt. I later repeated the question to one of my elder cousins, Don. Don responded, “Uh, since before the United States was the United States.” Damn! Where was Don when I needed him?

It is true…


Her presence helped me with my own mother’s passing.

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Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

(This story was adapted from an earlier version I wrote many years ago.)

At one week old, her life was already halfway over.

She never said a word to me, but of all the hospice patients I’ve had the honor of meeting in my 10 years as a volunteer, she stands out the most.

If you’re fortunate enough to have never had experience with hospice care, please savor your blessings. For anyone who does not know, hospice is care provided to people at the end of their lives. …


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2021 looming over the horizon brings an anticipated sense of relief, even though we all know clocks will strike midnight, not COVID-19. A pandemic will not evaporate once the calendar page turns to a new year. Division won’t go away. Racism. Unemployment. Evictions. All are unlikely to disappear in 2021. But somehow, the reality that 2020 will soon live in the past feels like a feat.

And in a strange way, it also feels sad. At least for me.

Brilliant writers inside and out of the Medium-sphere got me through early days of the pandemic with their insights and shared…


BIPOC Women’s Double Whammy

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Shakira & Jennifer Lopez Super Bowl LIV Halftime Performance — Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

In the midst of last summer’s reckoning spurred on by George Floyd’s unwitting sacrifice, The Denial of racism set in motion a movie reel in my head. You know, that movie reel that sneaks up and plays on a larger-than-life screen to remind you of whatever trauma you try to forget. Like the time a jerk-off at school called you a fat-ass. Or the time you peed your pants in kindergarten. Or the time you accidentally farted loudly in front of your crush. Yeah, those times.

The Denial impaled conversations left and right. …


A poem on the year that will never die

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Author’s photo

Goldilocks
In giraffe form
Rippling Narcissus
Who is looking
Back at who?
Which is the illusion
And which is you?

2020
Hindsight
Or mirror?

Digesting
A diet of deceit
Downplayed virus
Stomach turning
Eyes blurring
Did our president
Really get sick?
Another trick
Perhaps
To avoid defeat?

Sprinkle chaos
Knead doubt

6 feet apart, or
6 feet under
Masks, or
Ventilators

October surprises
Want more?
Serpentine
Unemployment lines

Lockdown lunacy
Stockpiling
Human decency and
Human touch

Remote learning Halloween Via Zoom Coronavirus Costumes Masks What we used to wear To conceal…


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Author’s photo

Dear Mom,

I imagine I must look different now than I did when I last saw you 15 years ago this month. What must it be like to see your baby girl with a few more lines and sunspots on her face? What do you think of all the canas mixed in with my dark hair? Would you still consider me your “baby” even now that I’m in my 40s?

I remember running hard and fast on a treadmill one day at the gym. You were less than five miles away lying on a hospital bed connected to a bunch…


To My White Friends Who Want To Dismantle Systemic Racism

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Unsplash photo by Clay Banks

If you’re serious about dismantling systemic racism in America, be prepared.

Be prepared to bristle.

Be prepared to have painful conversations.

Be prepared for rejection and possible loss of friendships.

Be prepared for your friends of color, even the ones who are not black, to temporarily distance themselves as they grapple with feelings of anger and resentment for being unheard until now. “White privilege” and “White supremacy” were not always socially acceptable terms for us to use.

Be prepared to hear some very unsettling truths that your friends of color were too afraid to speak about before.

Be prepared to…


And 4 other valuable lessons I learned from the pandemic

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(Photo by Victor Janin from Unsplash)

I’ve learned quite a few things in the last couple months. One, I’ve learned the importance of limiting the flow of info regarding anything that starts with “corona” and ends with “virus.” I try to limit my intake to once a day, maybe twice tops, but I fail regularly.

Here are a few other things of value I’ve learned in the last two months:

1. Life is too short to drink shitty wine.

After one email too many, eyes crossed from scanning Excel files, mind melted from convoluted documents, I needed wine — fast! So, I sliced some Swiss cheese, cut some dark chocolate, and poured me a glass…

Coka Brown

Social justice and unabashed Native American rights advocate. Ardent reader, eclectic writer, frequent cusser.

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