Interview of Aurora Levins Morales
Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Lives with chemical injury and environmental illness. Puerto Rican-Jewish poet, essayist, and podcaster. Disability and accessible housing activist. Collaborating on the Vehicle for Change project.
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness
- Social MovementsEnvironmental Illness
- Biographical Note:
- Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Lives with chemical injury and environmental illness. Puerto Rican-Jewish poet, essayist, and podcaster. Disability and accessible housing activist. Collaborating on the Vehicle for Change project.
- Morales, Aurora Levins
- Persons Present:
- Levins Morales, Apolloni, and Rachel Lee
- Place Conducted:
- This interview was conducted in the Director’s Office at the Center for the Study of Women, UCLA.
- Supporting Documents:
- Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
- Interviewer Background and Preparation:
- The interview was conducted by Alexandra Apolloni, the Program and Research Developer at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women.
- Processing of Interview:
- The interviewer read several of Levins Morales publications (Kindling, Medicine Stories), as well as her postings on her blogs.
- 2.25 hrs
- Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
- Series Statement:
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness is a collection of interviews with over seventy individuals living in the U.S. and Canada whose family history, occupation, art practice, or activism have brought them into direct contact with illness experience and disability related to chronic, low-dose exposure to toxicant chemicals. The procurement of this collection (from March 2019 through September 2020) was sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women under the directorship of Rachel C. Lee, with interviews conducted by six undergraduates, five graduate students, two career staff, and two faculty members at CSW.
Childhood in Puerto Rico and growing up on a farm--Family background--Description of parents--Moving to New York at 2 years old--Family environment--Describes lack of security in childhood--On mind-body ecosystem--First awareness of health problems--Moving to Chicago at 13 years old and pesticides exposure--On the reasons for moving to Chicago--Involvement in Chicago’s women’s movement--On racism in the United States--On experiences in women’s movement--Describes relationship to body--Growing up in an activist family--Involvement with activism in Chicago--Relationship between writing and activism--Epileptic episodes and health--Attending college in New Hampshire--Joins Berkeley Women’s Center’s writing workshop--Health complication during the late 70s--On disability activism--Struggles with menstrual cramps and on pharmaceutical testing of birth control in Puerto Rico--Health complications during college--Pregnancy and health--Difficulties of working with a disability--Stroke in 2007 and rumination of visible disability--On the hierarchy of disability--Relationship with Billie Rain and the Sick, Disabled, and Queer (SDQ) Facebook group--Experiences of advocating for access--Body and social oppression--Housing as a struggle leading her to design her own trailer--The relationship between social issues and health