Gloria Macias Harrison. She is as she has been for a long time, a celebrity. Not just in San Bernardino but throughout Southern California. She has also been appointed to statewide committees by the Governor.
Gloria’s five feet stature belies her influential stature. Her achievements in education, business and the rights of minorities transcend all but a few others.
I place her in the pantheon with Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and George Brown – her brother-in-law. Brown was married to her sister.
She was President of Crafton College for twelve years; a public-school teacher for twenty years; and she and her husband, Bill Harrison, co-publishers of several newspapers.
When asked what one word best describes her, Gloria responded with the word, ACTIVE. Her published history of activities verifies her assessment of herself.
From my research, very little information is available about the person of Gloria Macias Harrison. She is a pure Chicano. The word defines a Mexican that is born in the United States and has a Hispanic heritage.
In regards to her activity I think a paraphrase of one of James Baldwin’s favorite statements is relevant. “The challenge of living is to be present in everything you do or experience; from getting up in the morning, to going to bed at night.”
It epitomizes the essence of Gloria’s personality.
When Wayne Harp was a young man, prior to his becoming a policeman, he enrolled in a Spanish class in which Gloria was the teacher.
He remembers her well. She also remembers Wayne. He speaks of her with enthusiasm.
“She was an excellent teacher and made Spanish understandable. She was always in charge of the class. She was always extremely helpful to any student that was having trouble with the language. Including myself.”
Several years later, after he was a trained policeman, he felt a need to be more fluent in Spanish so he attended an advanced class with Gloria.
“She had not changed,” he said. “She was thorough, well prepared and interesting.” Wayne is now retired, but he remembers Gloria with admiration.
Gloria and Bill have been married for fifty-two years. In describing their relationship, Gloria says, “Bill is a Greek and I’m a Roman.” That metaphor suggests that Bill has the ideas and logic of the Greeks. Which she carries them out with decisive action. Their affection is obvious.
When it comes to religion, Gloria is skeptical of the organization. The structure is far from its origins. She identifies herself as “more Buddhist.” I assume she refers to its fundamental beliefs. This is probably the basis for her vegetarian views. Other views are: pain is a part of life, human cravings are the source of pain, the fewer cravings we have leads to Nirvana.
Gloria is also in love with Barcelona, Spain. She knows the history of Spain thoroughly, including its dominance by the Moors. They ruled Spain for 800 years.
Charles Roberts, editor and friend, voices strong appreciation for Gloria’s talents. He enumerated them to me, “An outstanding leader, a great representative for all minorities, efficient politician, a successful business woman, and extremely efficient educator.”
Gloria is acquainted with emotional pain. Her life was guided by an uncle and a grandmother. They guided her and demanded perfection from her in all of life. The death of Diana – her daughter – last June was and is painful. How does she deal with it? “Impermanence” is a Buddhist concept.
As the publisher, Gloria is the owner, with Bill her husband. Maryjoy Duncan is the editor of the papers I write for. Maryjoy knows Gloria very well. She respects Gloria’s academics and especially her community activities.
Along with her serious side, she says, “I have come to realize that she is quite funny and feisty. She is an example of true grit, loyalty, and class.”
In conclusion I quote a statement attributed to Gloria. “I never forget my roots. My heritage is vital for me, along with education and family.”
I share these words with Maryjoy, “With the community I place her in high esteem.”
Amen. Selah. So be it.