Cecilia Rosales Ph.D.

A span of emotions

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March was a busy month, especially for the Valley’s nonprofit circuit. Many organizations including Florence Crittenton, Hospice of the Valley, The O’Connor House, and AGUILA held annual fundraising events. Impromptu fundraising to benefit the victims of the Japan earthquakes and tsunami also took place.

Plenty of outdoor, family-friendly events were also on the calendar, like the Tres Rios Nature and Earth Festival at Estrella Mountain, the Phoenix Sister Cities WorldFest, and the Tempe and Scottsdale arts festivals. For those of us with kids, these are wonderful opportunities to learn and play together, and enjoy the gorgeous weather.

It was after attending one of these festivals where my kindergartner told me he was too old to ride in a stroller, that I received an email invitation to participate in the Empty Strollers walk on Mother’s Day at the Phoenix Zoo.

Obviously, the event’s name caught my attention. As I read the description, I caught myself holding my breath: “Each day around the world, parents walk their babies, safely nestled in their strollers, around parks, neighborhoods, schools and even zoos. … But, tragically, not all children get to ride in their strollers, return home at the end of the school day, or spend holidays with family.”

Empty Strollers raises funds to support the families who have experienced the tragedy of losing a child, “because death is not bigger than a family’s love, and because even in their absence, they continue to walk with us as we walk for them.” My heart sank.

The MISS Foundation is the organization behind the event. The volunteer-based nonprofit provides crisis support and long-term aid to families after the death of a child. Founder Dr. Joanne Cacciatore knows all too well about that. She spearheads the Certificate of Trauma and Bereavement graduate program at ASU, and founded the nonprofit after the death of her daughter Cheyenne.

The work of the MISS Foundation piqued my curiosity, because in my own family, the death of my brother was a taboo, off-limits topic. My sisters and I knew he had died as an infant, but didn’t dare talk about him in front of my parents. I have wondered, in retrospect, if talking to my parents about the loss of their only son could have proven cathartic or beneficial. Hindsight!

I’m sure you, like me, will be moved by Dr. Cacciatore’s work and that of the volunteers at the foundation. To read an op-ed on sorrow and kindness by Bianca Mera, a social worker who volunteers her time to work with bereaved parents, go to My Perspective on page 62.

This past month, Latino Perspectives Magazine hosted its third annual Trailblazers community celebration at Phoenix Art Museum — we had a full house! Thank you to those who attended this special celebration in commemoration of National Women’s History Month and in honor of six inspiring Arizonans. You can check out pictures of the event on page 20 and more online at latinopm.com.

In this issue, in addition to our regular departments, we share with you two stories rooted in Arizona, with relevance in the larger Southwest region. Guest contributor Annette Flores gives us an inside look at one of KJZZ’s latest endeavors: the Fronteras News Network and the Changing America Desk news bureau, the first of its kind in the nation. Robrt L. Pela examines the work of the East Valley Patriots for American Values, a nonpartisan, faith-based group set “to change the tone and civility of politics” in the East Valley. Although the group is interested in public policy affecting the economy, families and immigration, in this issue, Pela focuses on the Patriots’ support of the Utah Compact.

Read on.

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