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Rosa Cruz
Rosa Cruz
Educational Materials: Panel Discussion

Following are questions and answers from a panel discussion with Rosa Cruz during a screening of A BROOKLYN FAMILY TALE hosted by PBS affiliate WVIZ in Cleveland.

How did it feel to have the cameras in your face for three years?

Rosa: Well, at first it was kind of scary, and I didn't talk much. As you can see I'm a little shy. But, then I got used to it, then all the feeling and the pain that I have inside, I took it out ... and I forgot that the camera was there, period. But it was nice, especially with Sister Geraldine. She helped out a lot. She was like our second Mother Theresa, and without her we would not have made it. And I thank her and I still have her in my heart.

Was there a point in the production when it seemed like this film wasn't going to happen because tensions ran high, in terms of having teenagers, the stresses of filming, etc.? Did you ever think you couldn't do this anymore?

Rosa: Well, yeah that passed through my mind. I don't want to be in it. At first, I thought it wasn't working out. I thought that everything Sister Geraldine, what she was saying wasn't going through my kid's mind. It was really going through ours, and we were taking it more personally than they were because it would go through one ear and come out the other. But after a while they started changing and they started doing better. Which as you can see, Elena was 14 when she had her baby, I don't believe in abortions. You know, like I told her -- you have the fun of making it, you are gonna have the fun of having it, and without no anesthesia or anything; she's just having it natural. Okay, and I took custody of her son, and I am still to this day taking care of him. And she still, whenever she is ready to have her own place, she'll get her son back because I'm not the type of mother who will take that kid away from her. That is her son and she'll get him back. But as long as she is doing the right thing. That is why she came here to Ohio, because in Brooklyn she was smoking weed, drinking, not worrying about her son; she was just worrying about herself and ruining her life. Which, I understood the pain she was going through because I went through it with my first husband and he was always drinking and he was always hitting us, 'til I gave up and put my foot down and I said 'well I got to do this for me and my kids.' Now she is a mother again the second time, and now she is more responsible; she is taking care of that one, and now she is going to know what I went through, and she is going to know how hard and difficult it is to raise a kid. So, I just wish my kids the best, and for those that got daughters that are afraid to talk to their mother, not to be afraid, and to rather trust their mothers to give them advice. And instead of being on top of them, or cursing at them, or hurting their feelings, or not listening to them, for them to run to somebody else to talk to them about their problems, let them trust you, and let them talk to you as their friend, if not as their mother. And be there for them, because you never will know when the world is going to end. That's the way I feel right now, I mean my life is complete, and I love Ohio, it is beautiful, it's beautiful, it's better than the dumps I was living in, it's beautiful and, I get along with everybody, and I am not a prejudice person, I love everybody, I believe in my God, and I am going to keep going until he decides to take me."

When you talk about being a strong person, finding strength in yourself, how much did you get from Sister Geraldine?

Rosa: A lot. A lot. I miss her, because there are things that I want to say to her, and she's not there so I talk to my mirror or myself, and it's like she's there instead of my reflection in the mirror. I miss her, and I need things to spill out that I wish she was here, and if it wasn't for her we would not be here right now."

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