Aleyda or Mari for her familia, is from a small town near Guadalajara, Mexico. She graduated from Fairhaven College with an Interdisciplinary major titled “Solidarity Across borders: Understanding Experiences and Imagining New Realities through Storytelling” and a minor in Education and Social Justice. Aleyda is the content curator for Raices Press, a platform to find book recommendations, book reviews, and writing events. Raices Press has a strong focus on social justice and highlighting writing by Black, Indigenous, People of Color to address the White-dominated publishing industry. In this episode we discussed her use of the word “raices” in her platform and how it it connects to her purpose for writing and sharing stories. Aleyda also gifted the podcast a reading of one of her poem’s “La Niña del Maiz”, which speaks to directly to the idea of raices verdes, and her family’s connection to the environment.
To access free and digital readings curated by Aleyda follow this link!
La Niña del Maiz by Aleyda Marisol Cervantes
The best time to have a child is September. When the corn is ready to be harvested and you can see the trucks selling it in every corner. It’s that time between summer and fall, when it’s not too hot or cold. When the sunsets are still a bright pink but a light orange covers most of it. A child born in September gets all the good qualities of the maiz. Knows how to grow up strong, still and how to behave according to traditions. All women of the small town know this, that’s why when she found it she was pregnant; she realized that the child wasn’t going to be perfect. She counted the months in her small pocketsize calendar and realized her baby was being born in March.
She knew that marriage was not an option and that will only bring more bad luck to the baby. She walked around wondering what a March baby look like. Her family didn’t talk to her, not even when she asked for names. She guessed it was too soon to think about a name.
Two days she had to spend in the hospital. Her baby didn’t want to come out. It was windy out, and the wind always carries secrets and likes to play around with people. She was afraid, the wind will take her baby away. She prayed and prayed, and asked all of saints to protect them. One of them listened and decided to help her. She had a baby girl with curly hair and brown eyes. When her family came to see them, they realized the girl looked like a September baby. They all tried to decide on the best name. This was a blessing who would have thought that a single mother could have a child with curly hair? But she didn’t listen to anyone and decided to name her Marisol. Sea and sun, bright like el maiz and strong like her faith.