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Letters to the editor

Readers are talking about Hector Tobar's family secret, illegal immigration and the war of words surrounding Fox News.

October 31, 2009

Re "A family secret revealed," Column, Oct. 27

Hector Tobar's column took me back to my grandmother, "Mama Lola," as we all called her. Born in 1918, widowed with four children at age 28 and displaced from her home in the 1950s by an earthquake in San Miguel, El Salvador.

She did not know how to read and write. However, when I started attending college in San Salvador, I became involved in a teaching program for poor families on how to read and write. Mama Lola was the first to enroll; she also brought along her friends and neighbors.

Thanks to God for the Valeria Cruzes and Mama Lolas who raised us, with great sacrifices, so that you and I could become who we are now.

William Ruiz



As I read each line of Tobar's column, I had memories of my grandmother, also from Guatemala, who never learned to read or write. She also wasn't able to sign her documents, and I remember how she would put an X in place of her signature. It's amazing how those stories that we keep secret can be so powerful and can actually help others.

I am the first in my family who attended and finished college. My sister now follows in my footsteps. I have learned to be proud of that achievement, and I embrace it and tell my story to younger generations who find themselves in a similar situation.

Tobar's story is an indication that, without knowing it, our successes are also the successes of our ancestors; without their struggles and triumphs, we would not be where we are today.

Monica Rosales



A few years ago, when I was an English-as-a-second-language teacher for the LAUSD adult school program, a woman nervously approached me before class. She confessed that she hadn't been in a classroom for many years and wasn't able to read, even in Spanish.

She was scared and embarrassed. I encouraged her to attend class by pointing out that she already had shown great courage by simply enrolling in class.

At the end of the semester, she again quietly told me that she was so grateful for having the opportunity to learn English and especially to read it.

I miss those students. This year, the LAUSD has drastically slashed its adult school program, and I no longer teach adult students. Our community, our city and our state are poorer for this action. Everyone, no matter their age, deserves to learn. Isn't that what we believe as Americans?

Roza Besser


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