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Cathy Arellano

Cathy ArellanoCathy Arellano

Cathy Arellano is a Chicana author hailing from Albuquerque's South Valley in New Mexico who currently lives with her partner in New Mexico. She grew up in San Francisco's Mission District where most of her blood relatives still live. Her family is a large Mexican working class family who taught her to work hard and to express herself, even when she did not want to. Arellano was taught to respect her elders and to value her roots. She grew up going to birthday parties with thirty or more people and was surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles and her maternal grandparents. She attended public school in San Francisco near her neighborhood in the 1970s to early 1980s. Her school was supposed to be "racially integrated" but was actually very segregated. Arellano's older sister led her to desire a good education at an early age. She wanted to be like her sister after she saw her attend school a year before her. Arellano did very well on standardized tests and learned quickly. She considered school to be a "blessing and salvation" since some of her family did not have the opportunities she did. She earned her MFA in English (Nonfiction) from The University of Iowa and a Master's in Education, teaching credential (secondary education), and her BA from UC Berkeley. As an undergraduate, Arellano wrote her senior English thesis on Chicano authors and the history of Mexicans in "Ethnic America." Arellano began her writing career during a difficult time in high school when she says she was in love with one of her best friends. Writing was an escape that allowed her to explore, hide, or confess her feelings. According to Arellano, writing "saved" her again when her mother passed away when she was just eighteen and less than a year out of high school. English is her first language but she understands Spanish "well enough to get by." She has written one chapbook and hundreds of poems and short stories. Arellano is inspired by her family, her community, people who seek justice, and people who are true to themselves, especially those under oppression. The work she is most proud of is her poem titled "End of an Affair" which was written in response to Arizona's immigration legislation, the SB 1070. The message she hopes to convey most to her readers is "We are here, have been here, and will be here no matter what." In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, and watching television to relax and is a Giants and 49ers fan. 

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