“Such a Pretty Girl – A Story of Struggle, Empowerment, and Disability Pride” by Nadina LaSpina – Covid19 #5

Such a Pretty Girl: A Story of Struggle, Empowerment, and Disability Pride by [Nadina LaSpina]

New Village Press, 2019, 332 pages, with photos.

I can’t read this book. In my first Covid post (#1, March 25) I wrote about the epidemics that impacted me, starting with polio in 1952.

Nadina LaSpina was born in Italy around the same time as I was born in the US. She survived polio at age 16 months, losing the use of her legs. Her family came to the US when she was thirteen years old, and she participated wholeheartedly in the political battles for disability rights and minority dignity. I’m glad the title of this book doesn’t include the terms “polio” or “paralysis”. The emphasis, rightfully, is on Ms LaSpina’s amazing life and leadership. Her police record (~50 arrests) attests to her willingness to engage in civil disobedience, including participation in Occupy Wall Street in 2011.

Yesterday, during a small Zoom gathering, a dear friend shared her memories of polio, which sickened her brother and forced the family into quarantine. The fear is such a vivid memory.

Now, in the midst of an epidemic that is taking many lives, I focus on daily activities and whatever sources of encouragement I can find. A little web surfing yielded up to date information about Ms LaSpina. She had a full calendar of readings, book signings and discussions planned for this March and April, but all have been cancelled. I like this recent picture. I hope she’s waiting out Covid19 someplace safe and comfortable.

 

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