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Keep ‘Em Coming

This past Monday was a red-letter day. I received a treasure trove of emails from folks who read my blog and watch my Stairwell Teatro Series. Few things are more gratifying than hearing from you.

Maria in Tucson writes, “this weekend we learned one of our nieces is expecting a girl. So I went to one of my favorite websites ( for gift ideas. I saw this book, ‘My Name is Maria Isabel.’ If only I’d had such books when I was growing up . . . oh well, I’m so pleased to know they now exist. The book stood out to me for the topic is timely to your activist art and wanted to share.”

Mil gracias, Maria.

So . . . I immediately visit the website and like what I see. A wide selection of books, music, films, toys for children of various ages. And it’s truly multicultural and international in scope. I’m also impressed that the section on parenting addresses such important topics as body image, child sexualization, gender research, adoption, children with disabilities, LGBTQ parenting, and many others. The one disappointment is that most purchases link to Amazon. Alas.

Have a look at what has to offer.

I love supporting writers of diverse backgrounds and I searched for, but did not find, Wendy Diaz’ book, The Secret of My Hijab, at I met Wendy several years ago while working at New America Media. This children's book was illustrated by Wendy's son, Uthman Guadalupe, 13. It's a lovely book and makes a wonderful gift for families with young children. Wendy is co-founder of Hablamos Islam which provides educational materials and resources about the Islamic religion and culture in Spanish, and is also the Spanish Content Coordinator at Islamic Circle of North America. She has published 10 children’s books.

I also highly recommend Wendy’s book De Puerto Rico to Islam With Love, a collection of poetry about identity and faith. Born in Puerto Rico to a Catholic family, her father was a career military man and Wendy's family lived in bases throughout the United Stages. At age 20 she converted to Islam. Check out her author's page (yes at Amazon) here. You can also read Wendy's journalism posts at Latino Muslim Reporter: La Voz Latina del Islam here. Until meeting Wendy, I knew zero Muslim Latinos. It is estimated that there are approximately 265,000 Latinos in the US who identify as Muslim.

I got several other emails on Monday as described in Episode 7 of my Stairwell Teatro series. One attached a newspaper clipping from a Miss Manners column.

The issue of family or friends’ unwillingness to make an effort to learn the names of important people in our lives is, sadly, a much too common theme.

Julie’s email had the briefest of messages: “The issue is everywhere once you start to look for it. Thank you.” Thank YOU, Julie for sending along.

Finally, I got two emails about the NYT’s Sunday story The Mrs. Files,, an interesting piece about woman’s identity in the world being more than a one-dimensional story about who she marries.

Maya Angelou’s quote can guide each and every one of us when it comes to saying people’s names.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Thanks so much for your emails and texts, and your comments on social media when I post stories or videos. You -- my global research partners -- are very much a part of each story. Gracias.

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