Yaritza Rollan

My sister, Yaritza Rollan (better known as Yaya ) dedicated her entire life to the arts. She tattooed, painted, drew, created murals, and even got into Cosmetology. She began participating in local gallery events right out of high school, got herself into tattoo apprenticing all on her own, and paved her own path to what would have been a bright future in the art world. Sadly, she immediately met and became influenced by the darker figures of this profession and began a slow decline into opiate addiction. Nevertheless, she always held on tight to her art, still tattooed, and still worked hard to stay on the path of her dreams regardless of her struggles. Sadly, the ten year battle with drug addiction claimed her life on December 28, 2019. That was the day another shining light in an otherwise grim world ceased to shimmer. After her passing, I was lost and angry beyond belief. I didn’t know how to unpack this grief or even come to terms with the reality that I will never see my sister again. Nothing seemed to get better until I met Bonny from RAD Heartstrings February of 2020. I was still broken and in a cloud of darkness when we met. Her tenacity, knowledge, compassion, grit and spirit slowly pulled me out of that corner. Today, Bonny is my mentor, partner and biggest fan of the work she has fueled me to create as part of our own non profit Yaya Por Vida Foundation. She planted the seed that motivated me to bring new life to Yaya through our outreach, art as healing programs and then some. Thank you for reaching for me when I needed it the most and honoring my sister now and forever. – Yamila Rollan Escalona Founder Yaya Por Vida – Yaritza’s Sister: Forever 26.

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