Taking Back the Streets: Women, Youth, and Direct Democracy

By Temma Kaplan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Staying Alive
through Struggle

I got off the phone and began to cry. My friend Luz de las Nieves Ayress Moreno, known as Nieves Ayress, a human rights activist in the Latino community of the South Bronx, had gone for a biopsy following a questionable mammogram, but the hospital had sent her home: they had lost her records for the third time. Her job tutoring a child in Brooklyn, an hour's; subway ride away from her home, nets about a thousand dollars too much annually for her to qualify for Medicaid. Her employers pay her decently and contribute to Social Security, but she has no health insurance, so she must seek care at public hospitals, which routinely lose her records. She finally had the biopsy, but the clinic made her wait a month to get the results. Only when she agreed to lose a half day's; work and return to the Bronx to see the doctor in person did she learn that the tests were negative.

I cried from frustration and rage about the way Ayress must keep fighting. For months she had felt excruciating pain in her breasts, not a sign of cancer but worrisome nonetheless. Her breasts are riddled with scar tissue from the torture she suffered in Chilean prisons between 1973 and 1976, during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. She first told her story from prison, and after her release publicized her own ordeal and the plight of others by speaking publicly and privately about the regime's; campaign of torture and repression. In October 1998— when Pinochet, who had ruled Chile for seventeen years, was detained in London for human rights abuses—Ayress told her story again. Un-

-15-

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Taking Back the Streets: Women, Youth, and Direct Democracy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Prologue - Tacking Back the Streets 1
  • Chapter 1 - Staying Alive Through Struggle 15
  • Chapter 2 - Pots and Pans Will Break My Bones 40
  • Chapter 3 - Democracy in the Country and in the Streets 73
  • Chapter 4 - Searching and Remembering 102
  • Chapter 5 - Memory Through Mobilization 128
  • Chapter 6 - Youth Finds a Way 152
  • Chapter 7 - Demonstrating to Remember in Spain 176
  • Epilogue - Mobilizing for Democracy 203
  • Notes 211
  • Index 263
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