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The Conversation

Readers respond to our June 2017 cover story.

Telling Lola’s Story

Lola’s Story” (June), by the Filipino American journalist Alex Tizon, quickly became the most-read story on TheAtlantic.com and garnered many emotional responses from people around the United States and around the world, particularly in the Philippines. Tizon, who died suddenly just a few weeks before the story’s publication, wrote about Eudocia Tomas Pulido, the woman he called Lola and thought of as a grandmother but who was actually his family’s slave. Until she went to live with Tizon and his wife, Melissa, late in life, Lola provided unpaid labor and suffered years of abuse from Tizon’s parents. Since the June cover story was released, Melissa Tizon has, in several interviews, emphasized Alex and his siblings’ love for Lola. While many U.S.-based readers drew parallels to antebellum slavery in America, many Filipino readers elucidated the cultural conditions that can lead to situations like Lola’s. One regional news outlet, Rappler, sought out Lola’s relatives in her hometown. Back in Seattle, where Tizon had lived and worked, the Seattle Times reporter who wrote Lola’s obituary six years ago expressed shock and anger that Tizon had obscured the truth about Lola’s enslaved status at the time. Melissa Tizon told the reporter, Susan Kelleher: “Sometimes it takes people awhile to get to the truth about their lives.” Here is a sampling of responses to “Lola’s Story.” For more, please visit theatlantic.com/contemporaryslavery.


The use of underpaid and overworked , , and —the kind of servitude Eudocia was

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