I'm trying to write this piece on Johnnie Tillmon. A tribute to her life and works. She was a welfare activist who died a couple years back. Nobody cared, really.

I care, of course. Tillmon meant a lot to me. I once took an essay of hers, "Welfare Is A Women's Issue," into a classroom at a prestigious university, where I was pursuing my doctoral degree. The other students argued that Tillmon's work didn't belong in a theory class. They said what she wrote wasn't "theory." One of them, another Latina, went as far as to accuse me of making the course "anti-intellectual." Gack.

Writing this piece, or trying to write it, is hard for me. I'm too close to it. I read stuff about welfare reform in the 1960s, and remember my mother -- how outraged she was when they tried to get her to have a car, because it meant staying on welfare several more years. And other stuff like that. Like how disappointed she was when I ended up on welfare, after I dropped out of high school, then got married and pregnant and divorced the first time. I was 15, when I dropped out of school; 19 when I got married; 20 when I got divorced. Or 21?

I can't remember anymore what changes, what doesn't. Or whose fault it is.

Nowhere to place the blame, exactly. So I end up just hating everything.