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Cota is hoping to write a third book. Photo: sandiego.edu
Cota is hoping to write a third book. Photo: sandiego.edu

How ‘The Pink Chicana Poet’ is showing immigrants and refugees with college dreams to never give up

The poet lived in a number of friends’ and families households throughout her education after her mother was deported when she was 11.

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Sinai Cota faced many hardships in her life, but they never stopped her from becoming successful and creating a scholarship for refugees and immigrants who want to pursue a college education of their own. 

The grant she created is under Urban Life, a nonprofit organization Cota was a part of when she was younger.

When Cota was only 11 years old, her mother, who came to America from Tijuana, Mexico, was deported. Cota found herself living in different households of students and families until adulthood.

However, she still managed to attend a four-year university, making her the first of her family to attend college.

Despite the hardships that afflicted her life, Cota fell in love with writing, literature, and creating poetry, which opened many doors for her. She initially attended the University of California San Diego (SDSU) and received a B.A in Religious Studies, and went on to get an M.A in Education Leadership Studies.

Cota was grateful for the help and support given from many families and friends she stayed with while getting an education. One close friend who helped her was Nancy Brusch, who passed away in 2015. 

Brusch’s loved ones started a scholarship in her honor, which led to Cota thinking of ways on how her love of writing could benefit the lives of others.

At that moment, Cota had an idea on how she could give more money to the scholarship.

She decided to publish her first book, Pink Poems, Tan Thoughts, in 2020, and 100% of the proceeds went to the Nancy Brusch foundation — a scholarship program that helps Black, Latinx and Asian students who come from immigrant and refugee backgrounds in San Diego to go to college.

To her surprise, Pink Poems and Tan Thoughts became the number one new release in Hispanic American Poetry on Amazon.

The book is a blend of bilingual poems and stories that share the struggles and events in Cota’s life.

She spoke to The San Diego Union Tribune about how she wanted to help the people of her city, and how the death of Brusch and her love of writing encouraged her to give back.

“I realized that my passion is writing, and my passion is like giving back to my community, so once I realized that I could put those two together and make a difference, I was like, ‘OK, let’s do this,’” she told The San Diego Union Tribune.

The talented writer and adviser recently published her second book, Mujeres In Movement. The book is an essential read for women who want to find self-love and make a difference in their communities.

Her books send a message while also supporting others who want to become successful in life, and Cota is hoping to add another book in the rotation that could help her community send its immigrants to college.

Cota, who is also a big fan of Frida Kahlo, is also an advocate for mental health and healing. She has been through a lot, but did not let her tribulations get in the way of becoming successful while helping others in the process.

She continues to help the Nancy Brusch Foundation, while also writing, volunteering, and is a student adviser at the University of California at San Diego.

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