Latina, composer, musician, poet, feminist, artist -- Linda Coronado's life was a brilliant mosaic that represents all these appellations.
Born in Tucson, Linda never knew her real mother as she was adopted by a Tucson family as a baby. It became obvious when she was quite young that her talents in the music field knew no boundaries. At Tucson High School her teacher encouraged her natural abilities. She played at least nine musical instruments, but guitar was her favorite. After obtaining a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, she started teaching in Tucson Unified School District, while at the same time she pursued her passion for art and music.
She wrote the music score for a ballet, she played guitar and sang songs she composed, as well as classical Latin American songs during events and special occasions in Tucson. In the 1980's her drawing and painting talents were scooped up by a local clothing that hired her to draw their advertisements. She was also active in theatre and quickly developed a strong reputation as a creative stage manager. She worked regularly with Borderlands Theatre, and was devoted to the theatre arts.
She became a member of the Tucson Women's Commission, and as a commissioner, helped to organize Tucson's first celebration of women in the arts -- an event that drew scores of performing groups, music artists, and visual artists together to bring visibility and recognition to the talents and achievements of women in the arts.
While in her 30's, Linda was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, a disease that disabled her at a rapid rate. As she struggled to manage this unexpected health challenge, she continued to pursue her artistic endeavors, by writing poems, songs, and essays.
In her final days, confined to hospice care, Linda gathered her close friends together to give her final performance. Propped up in her bed, she delivered a powerful, unforgettable reading of her poems. Linda Coronado was truly a renaissance woman. Her poem that follows is a testament to her values, humor, and sense of self.
SOY LATINA, ME DICEN
MEXICANA, PERUANA, BRASILENIA,
PUERTO RICANIA, PANAMENIA, ESPANOLA, BOLIVIANA
MI ABUELITA, SE LLAMABA CULTURA
MI MADRE, ARTE
MY ROOTS SINK DEEP INTO THE SOIL OF FOUR
I HAVE BEEN QUEEN AND HIGH PRIESTESS
I HAVE BEEN SERVANT AND SLAVE
I HAVE BORN CIVILIZATION
AND TAUGHT MY CHILDREN TO DREAM
I AM THE GUARDIAN OF MY HISTORY
THE STORYTELLER, CANTANTE, ACTRICE
I AM THE PINTORA DE MI RAZA
MI SEGURA ES DIVERSA Y BELLA
MI COLOR IS UN ARCO IRIS
QUANDO CAMINO, ES A UN RITMO PRIMITIVO
Y ASI ME RECONOCERAS
LES HE DICHO, SOY LATINA.
In the 1970s the Chicano movement was well on its way. In Tucson there were social activists from the barrios who raised their voices speaking to issues of the day. Linda Coronado was one of those voices. Whether it was playing her guitar and singing at a migrants' rights rally on the border between Douglas and Agua Prieta or performing with a local theater troupe, Linda was out front advocating for equality and women's rights. Linda was active with the Teatro Libertad and Ododo Theater, two Tucson community activist theater groups.
Linda was an educator who worked with various schools in Tucson. She was also a human service worker who joined other Tucson feminists in working with community-based programs for women. She was an early member f the Tucson Women's Commission where she was active in organizing educational workshops and conferences for women. Linda organized events to support women activists in Tucson. She was a singer, songwriter, musician (played 9 musical instruments), wrote a ballet, and a great deal of poetry.
Linda is honored for her creative and activist contributions on behalf of women.