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An Interview With Rita Botello
Not available online
TitleAn Interview With Rita Botello
AbstractInterviewer: Irene Ruiz. Interview recorded June 19, 1981. 1 sound cassette (ca. 90 minutes): analog, stereo.; 5 7/8 x 2 1/2 in., 1/8 in. tape; 1 sound disc; digital; 4 3/4 in. Has printed guide to contents.
NotesAt the time of the interview, Mrs. Botello was director of the Guadalupe Parish Center. She was born in Kansas City, Missouri, March 26, 1951. In the interview she discusses her early life including family, school, and church as well as her adult work including at the Guadalupe Parish Center.

Number 3 on MP3 disc.
Date1981-06-19
LocationSC69-1, Tape 3, CD 3
Local SubjectOral History
Botello, Rita
West Side
Guadalupe Center
Hispanic Americans
Item TypeArchival Material
TranscriptionSynopsis of Interview:

Mrs. Botello is director of the Guadalupe Parish Center. Born in Kansas City, Mo., March 26, 1951. Family then lived at 21st and Jefferson. Father is Lorenzo Valenciano; mother is Mimi Juarez Valenciano. Moved in October 1951 to a home at 40th and Wadell in Westport area. Mother born in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico. Father born in El Paso. Father was a waiter; worked at most country clubs and hotels in town. Is now retired; works part-time as janitor. Mother worked in a Chinese laundry on Southwest Blvd. before marrige; has not worked since.

Attended kindergarten, first grade at Allen School. Transferred to Our Lady of Good Counsel for rest of elementary; attended St. Teresa's Academy for high school; graduated 1969. Parents purchased home with insurance money they received when an uncle died in the Korean War. House was in a block of homes along a deserted railroad yard. Only block in the neighborhood which was Mexican. Adults in area spoke Spanish; children answered in English. Almost all neighbors also were waiters. Surrounding area predominately Irish Catholic.

Grew up in a mostly white church, school--found it confusing to visit relatives on the West Side. Totally different cultures. Streets nearby all residential; some stores across Southwest Trafficway.Family attended Our Lady of Good Counsel Church. Parents married in civil court; mother converted from Baptist faith soon after Mrs. Botello was born; parents re-married in a Catholic church. Five children total in family; three older and one younger. Mother did not fully accept Catholicism; seldom attended church. Parents never felt welcomed at church. Loved to read; spent summers in library.

Family home on West Side damaged by the 1951 flood. After flood, mother insisted on moving to safer location. An aunt also moved to Westport. Received good grades in elementary; principal highly recommended her for St. Teresa's. Found herself in too high an ability level in high school and had difficulty competing. Active in numerous clubs. Attended college mainly because all school friends did. Began at UMKC in an art program, then switched to Spanish language and literature. Joined United Mexican American Students in sophomore year, thinking it was a typical Spanish club. Became involved in social issues; met people from the West Side. Supported herself going through school as secretary, clerk-typist, clerk. Got a loan in her senior year because UMAS activities took more and more work time. Mother at first was against her going to college, but father was supportive. Had planned to graduate in 1973 but felt unprepared in Spanish. Switched major to sociology as background for law school. Felt she could accomplish more for social causes. Still had one incomplete when she left school, got married, did not finish course work until 1975.

Married David Nava Botello, a fellow student at UMKC. Now have two sons, Antonio and Daniel Valenciano Botello. Worked at Hallmark for one year; bilingual teachers aide one year; became caseworker for ADC, determining welfare eligibility. After five months, was offered job with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Quit after five months because job demanded she travel out of town about two days a week. Stayed home until son was one year old; started working with the city as a social worker in City Development Department. Stayed one-and-a-half years; left when she felt funding for her job might be eliminated. Became administrative assistant to the director of the Neighborhood Justice Center. Gave her the opportunity to do some para-professional legal work. Stayed home for six months when second child was born; then worked for two years in the city's Urban Affairs Department.

Became director of Guadalupe Parish Center in October 1980. Enjoyed Urban Affairs job but felt she was going nowhere. Parish job is lower salary but more potential. Feels it is something she can do for the community. Aims to make center more vocal; hopes to remodel the 50-year-old facilities.Center runs on government funds (Title XX and Ceta). Diocese provides money only for her salary. Total staff is ten, only three fulltime. Day care center leases space from Guadalupe; runs independently. Husband has worked for Social Security Administration since 1974. Personal goal to return to the city and head some department. Sees herself as more visible, hence more criticized in present job. Hopes to see less in-fighting among community members on West Side. Only sibling to complete college. Presently working on Master's in Public Administration. Regret never going on to law school. Was third on the UMKC waiting list to get in, but she had married, was pregnant, and her husband was still in school.
Access This ItemYou may come to the Missouri Valley Room to listen to the interview.
Item ID210348
CONTENTdm number36347
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