Women of Faith

Richly detailed painting of the legendary figure Lucretia, a Roman noblewoman violated by one of her husband's relatives
Master of Marradi. The Funeral of Lucretia. Late 15th century, Metropolitan Museum of Art

by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

My tía Josie was my favorite aunt, my idol, I would do almost anything to be like her. She was a streetwise genius and thought I was, too; her sense of humor was absurdist and inappropriate, and it still cracks me up. When I was nine, for instance, a quip about my nail-biting habit: "You should start smoking cigarettes." 

In the 1980s, Josie helped create the first "minority" employee program at the U.S. Postal Service. She sent postcards from San Francisco drag shows, called from work trips to D.C. to recount in detail every fascinating exhibit she'd seen in the Smithsonian, a place I dreamed of going. Long distance cost a lot of money in those days; I imagine she was using government phones.

It’s a paywall, but a small one

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