You first met Josué Ramirez in What Millennials think of the Bridge Generation at Lux Lounge. and then later in The 180th Anniversary of the Alamo and Trump’s Wall with Dr. Josué Ramirez where we looked at the 180th anniversary of Santa Anna’s capture of the Alamo.
I first met Josué freshman year at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. I’ve always known Josué as a gifted writer, academic and painter.
In 1987, Josué worked in Rochester for La Isla, a community organization. For a while, he lived with my parents in Brighton who he described in his artist’s biography as “a fascinating, intellectually active couple.” During this time in Rochester, Josué produced “Still Life in Rochester.”
I remember in 1997 when both of us lived in Rhode Island and Josué was commissioned to draw a well-received mural of Providence’s newly developed waterfront.
In the last several years, Josué has had various health setbacks. Thankfully, he survived life threatening surgeries. At the same time, his health difficulties have taken a real financial toll.
In Help Josué, Josué asks for help. No doubt, very few of our readers know Josué personally. So, Josué asks that you take a look at some of paintings and consider a purchase at Josueramirez.com in which you can see his most comprehensive collection, “Sketches of Old New York”: Towards an Anthology of the Metropolis .
I sat in front of a blank screen for the longest time this morning. I never imagined I’d be fundraising for my own life. I thought some day I’d raise money for a civic cause, or for some worthy candidate. But my friends tell me that I should accept help, that I do have a community that loves and values me. And, that now I indeed need help.
I had three epic operations in the last couple of years, surgeries that saved my life. (At Bellevue Hospital and NYU-Langone.) I had months of intensive care, weeks when my numbers were not good, when I was just not recovering. Feeding tubes, nights of morphine and very worried doctors. In that dark place my life changed.
I was diagnosed with colitis in graduate school, and for several years I lived on steroids. I was strong. I finished a doctorate in anthropology at Brown in 2002. But my condition worsened. In 2008 I left a good tenure track position in Massachusetts. I was starting to experience complications. I published my dissertation as a book, an ethnographic monograph of young people in Mexico City. But I was now exhausted, hemorrhaging. Back in New York I tried to work in insurance, but couldn’t. I drew down my savings, and eventually had to rely on friends and family. I sold some paintings. One day I got a visit from a dear friend. I had a small apartment on 28th Street at the time. She insisted on taking me to the hospital. She put her foot down. At Bellevue after several days of tests a small group of doctors came to see me. The head of surgery there said, Josue, you’re having surgery first thing in the morning. Otherwise you’re in real trouble. At that hospital I survived the war. I was disemboweled on a field of battle somewhere far away, but I survived the war. Friends came, time passed, I lived.
I now face a new reality. I’m in debt to friends, family, banks, credit cards. I’m living from adjunct teaching part time, but my functioning remains difficult. And yet, I’m absolutely overjoyed to be alive. It’s a cliche I know about survivors, but it’s true. Every day is a gift for me now. And, I’ve come to accept my life as it is. I’m finally able to ask for help. The academic career might no longer be possible, but I’m still part of a larger whole. I have a role to play in this city. I bring passions and skills cultivated over many years. I will fully recover and I will build a new life here.
That’s where you come in. Please donate to my recovery. I need a calm space, some time, some sustenance. I need yoga, meditation, therapy, conversation. I’ve always been a creative person, and through my art and writing I will find another career, another purpose.Eventually I’ll find a non-profit to work for, a think tank, a city agency. I’m an activist by nature.
This is the time your help would be most critical. My medical journey has taught me humility and gratitude. I’ll always remember and value your contribution.