At eighteen, Yvonne Martinez flees brutal domestic violence and is taken in by her dying grandmother... who used to be a sex worker. Before she dies, her grandmother reveals family secrets and shares her uncommon wisdom. "Someday, Mija," she tells Yvonne, "you'll learn the difference between a whore and a working woman." She also shares disturbing facts about their family's history--eventually leading Yvonne to discover that her grandmother was trafficked as a child in Depression-era Utah by her own mother, Yvonne's great-grandmother, and that she was blamed for her own rape.
In the years that follow her grandmother's passing, Yvonne gets an education and starts a family. As she heals from her own abuse by her mother and stepfather, she becomes an advocate/labor activist. Grounded in her grandmother's dictum not to whore herself out, she learns to fight for herself and teaches others to do the same--exposing sexual harassment in the labor unions where she works and fighting corruption. Intense but ultimately uplifting, Someday Mija, You'll Learn the Difference Between a Whore and a Working Woman is a compelling memoir in essays of transforming transgenerational trauma into resilience and post-traumatic growth.
Yvonne Martinez is a retired labor negotiator/organizer. She has been published by ZyZZyVa, Crab Orchard Review, Labor Notes, and NPR. She also formerly wrote a local labor blog in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her forthcoming memoir in essays, Someday Mija, You'll Learn the Difference Between a Whore and a Working Woman, covers her childhood in Salt Lake City/South Central/Boyle Heights and her work as a labor negotiator/organizer in California and the Pacific Northwest. Her play Scabmuggers is based on her experience as a National Fellow of the Harvard Trade Union Program in 1994. Yvonne lives in Berkeley, CA, and Portland, OR.
- Publisher: She Writes Press (October 18, 2022)
- Language: English
- Paperback: 256 pages
- ISBN-10: 1647421020
- ISBN-13: 9781647421021
- Item Weight: 12 ounces
- Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.75 x 8.5 inches