Author: Maria Dintino

Sonya Renee Taylor: The Map Back to Ourselves

Since reading Sonya Renee Taylor’s book The Body Is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love and writing this post a little over a year ago, I have been keeping my finger on Taylor’s pulse, a pulse I value and need as I work to hold myself accountable and better understand systemic racism. (I highly recommend her recent TEDx talk Let’s Replace Cancel Culture with Accountability.) After Derek Chauvin was found guilty this past April, Taylor’s organization, also named The Body Is Not An Apology, stated on its Facebook page: “In @SonyaReneeTaylor’s second to most recent video, “Justice...

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Willa Cather: A Forever View of the Mountain

Last week, my sister Theresa and I took advantage of the opportunity to visit the grave of novelist Willa Cather and her longtime partner, Edith Lewis, in the Old Burying Ground behind the beautifully preserved Meeting House in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. I had known for a long time that Cather was buried in Jaffrey, but didn’t know how it had come to be that the woman who wrote “of prairie pioneering…the desert southwest…Quebec City at the end of the seventeenth century…her own birthplace, rural northern Virginia,”( https://www.willacather.org/willa-cathers-biography) chose a small New Hampshire town as her final resting place. That...

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The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women – And Women to Medicine by Janice P. Nimura (2021)

On January 23, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell was awarded a medical degree. She was the first woman in the United States allowed to earn one and she was determined to be a trailblazer. Many labeled Elizabeth an exception: “From all we have been able to learn respecting Miss B.,” it [a letter] concluded, “she is emphatically an exception”(Nimura 81). Elizabeth did all she could to make sure she was not an exception and by the end of her and her sister Emily’s lives: “The ranks of accomplished women doctors were growing, and the Blackwells could take much of the credit...

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This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism by Ashton Applewhite (2019): “Make noise about this!”

In 2019 one of my sisters gave me a copy of the book This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, by Ashton Applewhite. Perhaps it’s because I’m creeping closer to turning 60 that I finally decided to read it, or perhaps it’s because I’m creeping closer to 60 that I kept it at bay for so long, collecting dust on a shelf for the better part of a year. Either way, I’m elated that I finally read it and I’m ready to make noise about this! Ageism, like other forms of discrimination, becomes more noticeable and intolerable once it’s...

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Willa Cather’s My Ántonia: An Unusually Beautiful Read

I thoroughly enjoyed my recent reading of Willa Cather’s 1918 novel My Ántonia. There is something soothingly beautiful about it, in part due to the nostalgic quality the narrator, Jim, brings to the story. Jim is thinking back over his childhood, growing up the late 1800s on the Nebraskan plains and in the town of Black Hawk. He tells the story from his perspective, this perspective crafted by Cather, of course. A central figure in Jim’s past is Ántonia, an immigrant from Bohemia, a girl he grows up with and always admires and loves. Well, mostly. There are those...

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Happy 100th Birthday to Betty Friedan!

On February 4, 2021, Betty Friedan would have turned 100 years old. Although she passed away 15 years ago (on her birthday, a 1-in-2,800 chance!), she has not been forgotten, and there are those working in an intentional way to keep her legacy alive. Often called ‘the mother of second wave feminism’ (1960s to 1980s), Betty Friedan had a “passion for the possible,” and persevered in moving the needle toward greater gender equality as much as one woman could. Far from perfect, yet brave, bold, and driven, this “visionary” accomplished more than is often realized. Her book The Feminine...

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Justice Ginsburg Day: Honoring the ‘Judicial Giant’

Monday, March 15 would have been Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 88th birthday. Justice Ginsburg passed away last year, on September 18, 2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, it makes sense her birthplace would mobilize quickly to honor her this year. March 15 is now declared Justice Ginsburg Day in Brooklyn and a 6-foot bronze statue of the late Supreme Court Justice was unveiled last Friday, March 12, at City Point Brooklyn, allowing people to reserve tickets for safe viewing over this past weekend and on her birthday. (Credit for the featured image above goes to...

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Sovereign Self by Acharya Shunya (2020)

After listening to Acharya Shunya discuss her latest book Sovereign Self: Claim Your Inner Joy and Freedom with the Empowering Wisdom of the Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita, I was intrigued enough to order a copy. When it arrived and I held it in my hands, I became skeptical wondering what I may have bought into and I ended up with temporary buyer’s remorse. Over the past months, I had felt bombarded by articles, social media posts, emails, courses, and books, all about self-improvement, touting the magic pill or the 3-quick-and-easy things I should do to become a better...

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Truth Be Told! Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America’s Concentration Camps by Michi (Nishiura) Weglyn (1926-1999)

The article 5 Japanese-American Women Your History Book Ignored by journalist Nina Wallace piqued my interest. Wallace leads off: “From African American activists critical to the 1963 March on Washington to the Japanese American women among the 120,000 wrongly imprisoned by a panic-stricken and – let’s be honest – racist United States government after Pearl Harbor, history has a nasty tendency of suppressing the role women played in major social movements throughout the 20th century. “As an antidote to this historical stifling of strong female voices, here’s a little herstory lesson about five women whose World War II incarceration...

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