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Gari-Woman » Rita Palacio's Biography
Mar 29, 2002

Rita Palacio is an educator with extensive teaching and administrative experience both in Belize and in the United States. Born in Dangriga, Belize, Rita Palacio is a nurturing mother of nine children. Embracing the colossal challenge of raising nine children and attaining higher education, Rita Palacio pursued undergraduate and graduate education at night while working full time during the day. Living among several cultures of Belize, including Garifuna, Maya, Creole, and East Indian heightened her sensitivity to ethnic differences and prepared her to work in a multicultural society. Having lived in a Spanish-speaking community in her formative years, she speaks Spanish fluently in addition to her native language, Garifuna, and English. Rita Palacio is married to Clifford J. Palacio who is also an educator. Since the early 1970's, they migrated to Los Angeles, California where they now reside.

From her earliest recollections, she was particularly interested in creative writing as a hobby and received awards for excellence in creative writing since elementary school. She was inspired as she observed elderly Garifuna women silently playing important roles in their community, but went almost unnoticed. From years of carefully observing Garifuna women, she believes that there is a commonality in generations of Garifuna women despite the differences in lifestyle. Garifuna women of today share distinct qualities with their forbearers: cultural leadership, persistence, resilience, and dedication to family and cultural values. Rita Palacio considers her mother her greatest inspiration and role model. Through her writings, she would like to capture the complexity and multidimensional nature of the Garifuna woman and the Garifuna culture.

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