By Mariana Saporana

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It has been said that time heals all wounds. For whom? The victims! America was founded by our virtuous forefathers on Judeo-Christian values including people from all religious beliefs.
With this said, I will affirm that my upbringing was in a low socio-economic Italian community in Yonkers and the Bronx in New York. My community was populated by first and second generation Italianos who hung onto traditional family values.
I was the first granddaughter of Domenick and Teresina De Vito to have attended college. Mia nonna Teresina raised nine children. She did this with a strong faith.
With my family’s value system I won a scholarship to Yeshiva University’s Project Beacon Program to teach minority, culturally-diverse students which I have done for 39 years.
In 1970 I started teaching in the San Ysidro School District (SYSD). Even though I had earned a lifetime teaching credential from California, I was told I was not worthy and culturally unqualified to become an administrator. I was not part of the “good old boys culture.” I was a New York Italian misfit. I was slighted for my New Yorkese accent. I was passed over for promotion at least 10 times.
I had enough of the racism, the derogatory looks. I did not belong to the brown nosing culture which permeated the SYSD,
I sued the SYSD. I won a Title VII law suit for age, gender and ethnic discrimination.
Racism, prejudice and bias need to be challenged by folks with true grit to stand up for what God has bestowed upon them. It was for me a painful journey to fight for what was right.
I am grateful for the perseverance and value system my family has instilled within me. If I did not have the guts to stand up then and now, my life would have taken a completely different turn.

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