In the Spotlight

Episode 58 – Taboos: Trauma, Resistance, & Healing

by Julián Esteban Torres López in Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Podcaster and poet Angela Rideau joins Julián Esteban Torres López to explore taboos, their relationship to trauma, and how our taboo resistance is both a revolutionary act and a step toward healing. Musical Guest: Mallika Vie. […]

Current Issue

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 57 – Colorism in Latin American & South Asian Communities

During the last episode, my good friend Kanchan Gautam and I discussed our experiences as Third Culture Kids and cultural appropriation. Today, we explore the deep roots of colorism in our South Asian and Latin American communities, along with dating and making friends while brown in predominantly white spaces. Musical Guest: Stephanie Henry. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 56 – Third Culture Kids, Cultural Appropriation, & Identity

Kanchan Gautam and Julián Esteban Torres López discuss their experiences as Third Culture Kids, which then evolves into a conversation about cultural appropriation. Kanchan Gautam is a novice birdwatcher, myco-enthusiast, and amateur naturalist. She is proud of her Nepali heritage and she spends time exploring identity and cultural narrative in Oakland, occupied Ohlone territory. Musical Guest: Annah Sidigu. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 55 – Blended Future Project

Blended Future Project is creating a new cultural identity where multiracial and multiethnic people are understood and free to develop and collaborate their own unique culture(s). It actively unites multiracial and multiethnic people and integrates them fluidly into the cultural communities of all other racial and ethnic groups. Julián speaks with the leaders of the Blended Future Project, Maris Lidaka and Beth Chin, to further understand this movement, as well as hear about their own mixed-identity journeys. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 54 – Deconstructing & Rebuilding Our Education System, Part 2

How can we reimagine school systems to fit the concerns of students in the 21st century? Dr. Kimberly Douglass and Dr. Robin Harwick, who are at the center of the innovative The Pearl Remote Democratic High School, teach us about democratic education. The Pearl is a personally relevant and student-centered educational experience. Students benefit from being part of a dynamic international learning community while being supported by mentors, educators, and professionals. The Pearl’s students are prepared for whatever life they choose. Musical guest: San Palo. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 53 – Deconstructing & Rebuilding Our Education System, Part 1

On today’s episode, we speak with Dr. Kimberly Douglass and Dr. Robin Harwick to identify the pain points of our education system, and to explore how we can deconstruct and rebuild it anew. They are the co-authors of the book YOU are the Revolution! Education that Empowers your Black Child and Strengthens your Family, and also are at the center of the innovative The Pearl Remote Democratic High School. Musical Guest: Jinnat. […]

Interviews

Episode 52 – Inside the Afro-Latino Actors Studio, Part 2

On today’s episode, we re-enter the Afro-Latino Actors Studio with Carlos Carrasco: actor, filmmaker, and director of the Panamanian International Film Festival. We examine the heart of art, how the sounds of things carry the emotions of things, we deconstruct language into its most fundamental pieces, explore how art is a process of selection, and much more. Musical Guest: Chromic. […]

Writing Prompts Tournaments

The Nasiona Writing Prompts League, Season 1 Stats & Rankings

The Nasiona’s Writing Prompts League is the gymnasium of the mind. Every prompt master was once a beginner. Check out our stats, rankings, and league leaders after 6 of our 6 season tournaments. One-hundred and twenty-one international competitors participated, 37 qualified for the SEASON 1 FINALS TOURNAMENT in June 2021. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 51 – Colombia * Anti-Uribista

Go on social media and type the hashtag #AntiUribista and you will find photos of cities in Colombia declaring themselves Anti-Uribistas as they resist state violence. Today, I cover the eight years Álvaro Uribe was president of Colombia, from 2002 to 2010, give you a thorough overview into the many reasons behind the current Anti-Uribismo movement, and glimpse into the United States’s love affair with Uribe, along with its role in Colombia’s militarized state since the turn of the century. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 50 – Inside the Afro-Latino Actors Studio, Part 1

Let’s go inside the Afro-Latino Actors Studio with Carlos Carrasco: actor, filmmaker, and director of the Panamanian International Film Festival. Carrasco will take the lead on stage, then give us the VIP tour backstage, behind the curtains, where we glimpse into what it is like to be an immigrant Afro-Latino in acting in the US, and how this experience has impacted his identity and drove him to also dedicate his time to social impact causes for Latin actors, theatre, and film. Musical Guest: Tre. Charles. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 49 – Colombia’s Historical Lack of Hegemony and Institutionalized Violence

Colombia’s history has the following pattern: people are massacred or enslaved, displaced, the land is freed, and the élite, foreign powers, and multi-national corporations come in to exploit the land and the labor force. What is going on today, during the Great Colombian Uprising of 2021, is an extension of this history. Since April 28, the Colombian government has been killing, torturing, disappearing, and sexually assaulting Colombian people on the streets throughout the country. Please don’t look away. […]

Editors' Corner

Existentialism in Spring 2021

As we idle into Spring, with all its transformative, and deeply metamorphic connotations, let us embrace that gentle introspection. Let us always wonder, and be unafraid of the strange doors this wondering inevitably opens. […]

BIPOC Music Series

TRE. CHARLES: “Stressin.”

World premiere of Tres. Charles’s debut single/music video for “Stressin.” Tre. Charles is a singer-songwriter who dives into the depths of his soul to try to bring you into his world with an expressive blend of warm and soulful undertones. This track embodies personal and social struggles that Tre. Charles has experienced throughout his life as a young black man in America. This timely track and its visuals are sure to capture the isolation that many have felt through this pandemic. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

¿Dices mu? Raising a Bilingual Child in a Tumultuous Era

In this essay, Betancur reflects on raising a bilingual, bicultural child in today’s socially charged climate. The act of reading to his infant daughter in Spanish leads him to consider both the advantages and potential disadvantages to growing up bilingual, the joys of sharing his cultural heritage with her and the fear that she will face the kind of racist, exclusionary intolerance he experienced as a child simply because of the language(s) she speaks. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

A Poor Puerto Rican Girl’s Bread

“A Poor Puerto Rican Girl’s Bread”, by Mydalis Vera was inspired by the structural social inequalities in the United States of America. Puerto Ricans have long been disenfranchised by policies that have robbed them of their land, ushered them into new concrete jungles, and created infinite ladders in the climb to socioeconomic freedom. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Out

“Like many, I learned a lot in college. I learned that I didn’t like sociology and that it was pretty easy to finish a minor. I learned that I matter and that toxic people aren’t worth my time. And slowly over the course of those years, I learned that I was bi.” […]

Creative Nonfiction

The (Questionable) Safety of Home

The summer after her junior year of college, the author lived alone in a house of five, or she thought she did. This essay tells the story of discovering that somebody who did not belong in her house was there without her knowledge, and the lasting effect it has had on her sense of safety in her home. […]

Creative Nonfiction

My Dead Darlings

“My Dead Darlings” is a creative nonfiction essay that focuses on the author’s personal connection to Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Lisbon sisters from Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides. The characters are used as conduit through which to explore the experiences of teenage girls. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Leveraging Love as Loyalty

This essay explores a few assumptions and real-world events about what we as children are taught to believe regarding the social concepts of family, fraternity, and fidelity. Formative experiences from the author’s childhood turn the home-spun concepts of familial love, brotherhood, and justice on their heads. After all is said and done however, there is love in the world—genuine love. None of us is perfect, but perhaps the critical period for human decency spans not weeks or months, but a lifetime. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Are You Borg Now?

Themes of belonging, of isolation, of expressions of identity, and of the nuances between the African American and the African Immigrant experience arise from a conversation between the author and the author’s inner voice. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Landing

As the narrator encounters winter-stranded birds desperate for whatever food they can find, she considers a night in which she witnessed a girl desperate to reunite with her abusive boyfriend, as well as the narrator’s own desperate attachments to an abusive lover. […]

Creative Nonfiction

On Jefferson Street

A meditative piece on a brief encounter witnessed a few years ago on Albuquerque’s Jefferson Street on a winter afternoon: in the daily grind of just trying to get where we need to go – physically, figuratively, spiritually – we are faced with the realities of our circumstances. And when we connect as humans, it is oftentimes done so when we stop to really see each other, to pay witness to the brief, fleeting, often ignored struggles that become our everyday life. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Lesbian Y.A. Novel

“Lesbian Y.A. Novel” is a fragmented coming-to-terms with lesbian identity across hometown, high school, and college. Interspersed with anecdotes about lesbian bars from Artforum’s “Confessions On The Dance Floor: Reveries From The Gay Bar,” this essay contemplates what it means to be a lesbian in any space — warm or cold, closed off or open. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Searching

A poem about the author’s journey as a bisexual woman struggling with anxiety, told through very minimal Google searches that she (and many other queer people) have made in her life, along with some she hopes to make in the future. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Screwdrivers

This story about LGBTQIA+ yearning and the hardships of navigating one’s boundaries — while also trying to be open to the experience of falling in love — explores how much we give of ourselves in order to get the most minuscule response, and then call that response affection because as LGBTQ+ people, we rarely know what healthy reciprocity is, especially when we’re young and still learning. […]

Creative Nonfiction

The World Behind the World

“The World Behind the World” grapples with the restaurant industry’s insularity and examines how that exclusivity embodies wider dynamics of power, race, and class. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Love Me in Arabic

This essay is an attempt to explore the author’s relationship with the Arabic language and love. Although his relationship with his father is the centre of this exploration, this essay remains a love-letter to all of Nofel’s friends and former lovers and an invitation to a different linguistic experience of love. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Cold Coffee

“Cold Coffee” is a creative nonfiction piece by Helena Ducusin that depicts her experience growing up half-Filipino and half-white in an Americanized household. It describes her interactions with parents, comparisons made to her friends, and the hurtful reactions of strangers that hindered her search for identity as she grew older. […]

Creative Nonfiction

My Mind, My Choice

This piece is about the author’s ongoing struggle with her decision to not press charges against her rapists. It also includes struggles she had with how her family and friends reacted to her victimhood and coping mechanisms. The author makes a subtle defense for her decision to cope. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Up for Grabs

The author recalls: “An older male friend told me once that if a woman was over 18, “she was up for grabs”.  I thought he was just being facetious: most men have a sense of decorum. An eye-opening incident, may have proved my friend’s point.” […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Yellow Fever

“Yellow Fever” is a coming-of-age piece that explores the fetishization of young Asian and mixed-race women. It describes the frustration of being seen as an exotic prize and not as a woman with complex emotions or as a human having value beyond men’s sexual desires. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Social Clues

Sometimes shyness and loneliness go hand in hand. And sometimes loneliness is not so much about being alone, or isolated, but an inability to connect with others on a meaningful level. A feeling too raw and too embarrassing to be expressed except within the protective shell of a hermit crab essay. With thanks to Sara Ryan for her piece, “Body Puzzle,” which offered the perfect shell.level. A feeling too raw and too embarrassing to be expressed except within the protective shell of a hermit crab essay. With thanks to Sara Ryan for her piece, “Body Puzzle,” which offered the perfect shell. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Backstrokes

In Backstrokes the author describes a reconnection with a cherished friend and kindred spirit from four decades ago. Their meet-up sparks a series of reflections in which she reassesses the value of usefulness as a lifelong priority. […]

Creative Nonfiction

In Pandemic Times, A Migrant’s Notes on Home

This personal essay is about the ever-present feeling, as a migrant, of not belonging to any one place. It explores the author’s long line of migrant ancestors, reflecting on whether the accumulation of their experiences have made her feeling of unrooted-ness run even deeper. At the center of the piece is an exploration of the concept of “home,” what that means for migrants and how that can affect our sense of self. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Time Dilation

This essay recounts a story of mutual discomfort between two teenagers. The speaker considers the events in retrospect in which he realizes the degree to which he made a person, to whom he was romantically interested, uncomfortable. The piece centers on communication breakdown, the failure of a friendship, misapprehension of others, the speaker’s journey to self awareness, and a healthier, yet still evolving, approach to intimacy and rejection. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Encounters with Māya

The short essay Encounters with Māya (Illusion) takes us on a journey through dreams, poems, and sacred texts to reflect on living as a human, awakening to ‘reality’, and staying connected to one another through hardship. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

There’s No Such Thing

The essay considers the experiences of being biracial in the late 1990s through the college application process. It ends with a reflection on the persistence of the idea that society does not allow for a “biracial” or “multiracial” category, and that those of us who are mixed-race must demand it. […]

BIPOC Music Series

Episode 48 – BIPOC Musical Artists Showcase

Listen to our first musical compilation album, entitled Volume 1: Petrichor. The works contained in this volume—from mournful piano compositions, dazzling spoken word, spellbinding vocal layered-songs, to beautiful instrumentals—express the intricacies of being an artist of color in a too-often indifferent world. Artists: San Palo, Whitney & The Saying Goes, Stephanie Henry, Tony Tennyson, whenthecitysleeps, Chromic, Beezy Montana, Mallika Vie, Annah Sidigu, Eki Shola, Samantha Pearl, and Jinnat. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 47 – The Nasiona’s Earth Day Manifesto

Julián Esteban Torres López lays out The Nasiona’s Earth Day Manifesto: “We are standing on a fault line. We’re at what can become a historic crossroad and turning point, or simply a return to the status quo … a status quo that will only continue to degrade our planet and the vast majority of its inhabitants. Our soil is ready for a new harvest. Our seeds need to be watered.” […]

Our Audio Issue

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 46 – ‘You Look Like a Terrorist’ & Other Racial Traumas, Part 2

Julián Esteban Torres López speaks with Dr. Parisa Mehran, founder of Women of Color in English Language Teaching. They discuss passport privilege and the barriers for international students. They also speak about obstacles to legal immigration, why POC international students may not finish university, share their own experiences of the impact of being called terrorists, and much more. Musical Guests: Aroe Phoenix & Mallika Vie. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 45 – Racism and Racial Trauma in English Language Teaching, Part 1

We speak with Dr. Parisa Mehran, founder of Women of Color in English Language Teaching (ELT), to explore how white supremacy is at the heart of ELT and how the industry functions as a racist propaganda machine. We discuss how native-speakerism and passport privilege can be forms of racism, and we shine a light on some of the detrimental consequences of racism in ELT, such as racial abuse and its effects on mental health. Musical guest: Stephanie Henry. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 44 – Design Thinking & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Part 2

Vanessa Weathers, Founder and Principal Consultant at Conscious Employee Experiences, joins us to explore design thinking and its relationship to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We discuss how marginalized folks may be better positioned for leadership roles.  We unpack questions, such as: What’s behind the claim “diversity is white genocide”? Where is power truly rooted in an organization? How can we design local politics to get the best results and to get people in the right roles? And much more. Musical guest: Samantha Pearl. […]

BIPOC Music Series

Volume 1: Petrichor

This first volume of The Nasiona’s music series encapsulates all the glorious highs and the searing lows of navigating the world as an empathetic, curious individual. The works contained in this volume — from mournful piano compositions, dazzling spoken word, spellbinding vocal layered-songs, to beautiful instrumentals — express the intricacies of being an artist of color in a too-often indifferent world; and like the scent that lingers long after the downpour, these masterpieces ask you to sit awhile, to close your eyes, to pay attention […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 43 – Design Thinking & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Part 1

Most environments are not designed to include and value everyone because they fail to center the concerns of those in the bottom rungs of our class and caste systems. I speak with Vanessa Weathers, Founder & Principal Consultant at Conscious Employee Experiences, to further explore design thinking and its relationship to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We critique the desire to build teams based on cultural fit, and we dissect the difference between managers and leaders. Musical guest: Mallika Vie. […]

BIPOC Music Series

JINNAT: “Enlight”

This series spotlights musical artists from The Nasiona’s first compilation album, Volume 1: Petrichor. Jinnat’s track “Enlight” is featured in the volume. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 42 – The Philosopher of Authenticity: Fernando González (El filósofo de la autenticidad: Fernando González)

Given the centering of Euro and Anglo authors, thinkers, artists, etc., our education systems in the US and Canada are still forms of colonial assimilation and propaganda. In the spirit of decolonizing our education, we introduce you to Fernando González, the philosopher of authenticity. To learn more about one of Colombia’s most influential and controversial writers, we speak with Gustavo A. Restrepo Villa, executive director of Corporación Otraparte, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and amplifying Fernando González’s work. […]

Disability & Mental Health Series

Episode 41 – Intersecting Oppressions of Race, Disability, and Mental Health During COVID-19

As a Black-Filipino United Statesian man with multiple sclerosis, Joe Sparkman talks about the “Scarlet Letter” of his diagnosis, the challenges he has faced getting a job, interactions he has had with doctors, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted his life and mental health. This is a candid conversation about the realities and the insidious nature of intersecting systems of oppression in the United States. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 40: Mobs, Insurrections, & the Radicalized

In the US, we’ve been radicalized to assume ourselves as great, at our detriment. Our superiority complex will be our downfall if we do not course-correct immediately. A turbulent future is here and on the horizon. The intensity of that turbulence will depend on how we prepare and act today. On today’s episode, I share an editorial I wrote following the January 6th insurrection at the US Capitol, and play an audio story that takes you through the different turbulences and warnings of the 20th century. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Episode 39 – Kwatsáan: Ancestral Land, Myths, & Reparations

Deborah Taffa, a citizen of the Quechan (Yuma Indian) Nation, shares two personal essays. In Act 1, she tells the story of a Native woman who leaves her ancestral land and lands in Missouri, where a disappearing lake and the confusion of a binational marriage force her to examine the relationship between motherhood and community. In Act 2, she speaks of a daughter’s familial connections to the land. As she leaves her mother’s hospital bed, Taffa reflects on healing and prayer, her tribal myths, and the injustice of tourism in her homeland. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 38 – In Between: Races, Languages, & Religions

“When you’re mixed-race, someone’s always telling you who you’re not.” That’s the first line from Tamara Jong’s personal essay, “In Between,” which succinctly captures the essence of what it means to be mixed-race. Tamara Jong is a Canada-born mixed-race writer and cartoonist of Chinese and European ancestry. In November of 2019, Julián Esteban Torres López spoke with Tamara about her experience of being in between races, languages, and religions, and her journey to find a footing, identity, and community.  […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episodio 37: Serenidad y Paciencia

Nelson Torres comparte varias historias personales sobre sus experiencias cercanas a la muerte y como esas experiencias lo transformó y le dieron forma a su vida: un caso de identidad equivocada que casi hace que lo asesine la policía, un suspenso literal en el precipicio de una montaña mientras estaba atrapado dentro de un carro, un vuelo surrealista sobre el Triángulo de las Bermudas, y esa vez que se perdió en el Caribe después de apostarle a su hermano un equipo de sonido que podía nadar de una isla a la otra. […]

Columns

The Right Wing May Have Lit the Fire, but the Left Wing May Dig the Grave

In the US, we’ve been radicalized to assume ourselves as great, at the detriment of ourselves, our country, and the world. Our collective arrogance, self-absorption, and superiority complex will be our downfall if we do not course-correct immediately. A turbulent future is here and on the horizon. The intensity of that turbulence will depend on how we prepare and act today.  […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 36: The Sisterhood of Teatro Luna, Part 1

Teatro Luna is an ensemble of Latina/x femmes and Women of Color creating empowering theatre, media, and training for social impact. On the 18th of June, 2020, Julián Esteban Torres López spoke with three of these radical culture makers and got a glimpse into Teatro Luna’s history, evolution, values, and sisterhood: Christina Igaraividez, Alexandra Meda, and Liza Ann Acosta. Here’s the conversation. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, "Peasant and Girl," color etching printed in black, red, and blue, 1921, Gift of Ruth Cole Kalnen, National Gallery of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

About Time

My father, born in Hungary in 1906, was often mistaken for my grandfather. Nowhere was the cultural divide between us more pronounced than on a trip to Budapest in 1969. We both let each other […]

Egypt, "Fragment of a Queen's Face," yellow jasper, Dynasty 18, New Kingdom, Amarna Period, reign of Akhenaten, ca. 1353-1336 B.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Creative Nonfiction

Open Season

Blending styles including personal memoir, creative nonfiction, and photography, “Open Season” lyrically explores what it means to be a woman in America. The vignettes present flashes of microaggressions that women suffer and internalize every day, […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Crush

Jenny Ferguson discusses what it means to crush as a demi-sexual adult, and takes readers with her to a black-tie wedding in Malibu, CA, days before wildfires burned 96,949 acres. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

The Audacity to Live

“The Audacity to Live” is a personal essay that centers around Alondra Adame’s experience as a daughter of immigrants and as a queer woman of color wrestling with her parents’ expectations while learning to become independent and navigating higher education. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

A Monologue About Coming Out to my Iranian Dad

As a teenager, Sarah Lotfi didn’t yet have the words to explain her sexuality, nor did she conceive that she could ever live as an out-and-proud queer person, so she relied on queer media. She underlines the dissonance between Iran’s harsh persecution of homosexuals and a young Iranian-Canadian’s innocuous coming out story. […]

Diaspora & Immigration Series

Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, "Tadeus Langier, Zakopane," photograph, 1912-1913, Gilman Collection, Purchase, Denise and Andrew Saul Gift, 2005, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Book Excerpts

Echoes of Tattered Tongues

Below are three poems from JOHN Z. GUZLOWSKI‘s critically-acclaimed book Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded, his book of poems and essays about his parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany. Make sure to read […]

Lafayette Maynard Dixon, "Sunset Magazine: September," lithograph, 1904, purchase, Leonard A. Lauder Gift, 2015, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Diaspora & Immigration Series

A Guide to Parenting

*WINNER OF THE NASIONA NONFICTION POETRY PRIZE, 2019*

I hope you don’t look Asian
like me.
I don’t want anyone, boy or girl,
reducing you to some Oriental fetish.

You will never know
your grandparents on my side.
I hope you will never know the hunger
that comes with such loneliness. […]

Podcast

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 55 – Blended Future Project

Blended Future Project is creating a new cultural identity where multiracial and multiethnic people are understood and free to develop and collaborate their own unique culture(s). It actively unites multiracial and multiethnic people and integrates them fluidly into the cultural communities of all other racial and ethnic groups. Julián speaks with the leaders of the Blended Future Project, Maris Lidaka and Beth Chin, to further understand this movement, as well as hear about their own mixed-identity journeys. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 54 – Deconstructing & Rebuilding Our Education System, Part 2

How can we reimagine school systems to fit the concerns of students in the 21st century? Dr. Kimberly Douglass and Dr. Robin Harwick, who are at the center of the innovative The Pearl Remote Democratic High School, teach us about democratic education. The Pearl is a personally relevant and student-centered educational experience. Students benefit from being part of a dynamic international learning community while being supported by mentors, educators, and professionals. The Pearl’s students are prepared for whatever life they choose. Musical guest: San Palo. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 53 – Deconstructing & Rebuilding Our Education System, Part 1

On today’s episode, we speak with Dr. Kimberly Douglass and Dr. Robin Harwick to identify the pain points of our education system, and to explore how we can deconstruct and rebuild it anew. They are the co-authors of the book YOU are the Revolution! Education that Empowers your Black Child and Strengthens your Family, and also are at the center of the innovative The Pearl Remote Democratic High School. Musical Guest: Jinnat. […]

BIPOC Music Series

Being Latina/o/x Series

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 22: Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name?

When Irma Herrera gives her name its correct Spanish pronunciation, some assume she’s not a real American. Her play, Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name?, is one woman’s journey from a small segregated South Texas town to California’s multicultural mecca. In this wide-ranging interview, we explore her Chicana identity, colorism, linguistic isolation, cultural hybridity, class migration, her social justice work, how her play is relevant to current events, and her transition into becoming a playwright. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Cruzando Fronteras / Crossing Borders

Why would anyone want to take on the treacherous task of crossing (multiple) borders? Poets Alondra Adame, Eva Gonzalez, Gustavo Martir, David Cruz, and Diana Castellanos share their personal stories on crossing borders and immigration during “Cruzando Fronteras,” an event that provided a safe space to talk about the seeking of refuge. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 3: Mixed-Race Families

Journalist Nicole Zelniker, author of Mixed, takes us on personal journeys to help us glimpse into overlooked worlds so we can more fully grasp what it means to be mixed. Zelniker spoke to dozens of mixed-race families and individuals, as well as experts in the field, about their own experiences, with the hope to fill a gap in the very important conversation about race in the US today. […]

Salvator Rosa, "Three Figures Around a Globe," 1615–73.
Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 5: Transracial Adoption

We continue our episode 3 discussion on mixed-race families by digging into transracial adoption. Nicole Zelniker—whose book, Mixed, was the focus of that episode—joins me to interview Leah Whetten-Goldstein about her experience being adopted from China into a white, Jewish family in North Carolina. We discuss side-effects, critiques, misunderstandings, and assumptions surrounding transracial adoption, as well as the beauty of being in a mixed-race family. We get a glimpse into Whetten-Goldstein’s struggle to find an identity growing up in a predominantly white community as an adoptee, and she shares the wisdom she’s gathered along the way. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 10: What It Means to be Mixed-Race

Mixed-race U.S. Americans are one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States. In 2017, 10% of all children in the U.S. were mixed-race, up from just 1% in the 1970s. Evidence indicates that this number will only go up: In 2016, it was reported that “47% of white teens, 60% of black teens, and 90% of Hispanic teens said they had dated someone of another race.” It is for these reasons that interviewees Justyn Melrose’s and Danielle Douez’s experiences are becoming more common. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Columns

Apart, but Together for Change

We are standing on a fault line. We’re at what can become a historic crossroad and turning point, or simply a return to the status quo … a status quo that will only continue to degrade our planet and the vast majority of its inhabitants. Our soil is ready for a new harvest. Our seeds need to be watered. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Black Books Matter

As we find ways to impact diversity and equity in publishing and writing and disrupt its “old boy” culture, one critical thing we can all do is buy and read books written by Black and other people of color. This list provides a starting point. It’s for readers searching for themselves on the page and ones who never encountered or meaningfully engaged with someone who doesn’t look like them or share their ethnic/cultural norms and values. These tomes, written by women of color, are ones that you need to read like yesterday. These books and the women who wrote them dare to push for space and give voice to the lives of Black and brown women on the page. Buy one today. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 28: Interrogating the Publishing Industry’s White Gaze

Lisa D. Gray, founder of Our Voices Our Stories SF, joins Julián Esteban Torres López to interrogate the white gaze of the publishing industry. They challenge its myths about Black and brown communities; call out its performative allyship; expose its diversity, equity, and inclusion problem; and hold it accountable. They also center, elevate, and amplify Black and other People of Color writers, especially women. […]

Inside Look Series

Inside Look Series

Episode 1: IM John Donaldson’s Chess World

Do the stereotypes about chess and chess players have any validity at all? Through the eyes of John Donaldson (International Master and chess writer, journalist, coach, and historian) we get a behind-the-scenes look at the most popular game of all time to see if chess really does transcend language, age, race, religion, politics, gender, and socioeconomic background. We also get some interesting anecdotes about Bobby Fischer from his biographer, as well as try to answer the following questions: Is chess a sport, art, or a science? What is the role of computers in the game? How much do privilege and belief play into improvement? How has who plays chess today changed over the decades? […]

Photograph by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash.
Inside Look Series

Literary Agents Answer Your Burning Questions, Part 1

You’ve spent months, maybe years, working tirelessly to tell your story and you’ve done it. You’ve written a book. What follows may be even harder: getting it published. It’s the word on every writer’s mind, and it can be scary, especially if you’re choosing to go the traditional route. In this three-part series, we hope to answer some of your burning questions, like What makes a literary agent tick? How do I craft a query letter? What are the best ways to utilize social media? To answer these questions, we went straight to source: literary agents. This article will give you a glimpse into the inner workings of the publishing world as experienced by literary agents. […]

Nasiona Books

  • Mixed, by Nicole Zelniker

    Mixed, by Nicole Zelniker

    The definition of families is widening, whether it’s because of mixed-race relationships, interracial adoption, or numerous other factors. Today, it is important to hear from a growing population about race, their shifting identities, and what family means to them. At the heart of the issue are the mixed-race families. Many mixed-race children have had difficulties fitting in, whether with one race or the other. In mixed-race relationships, one partner may face racism, while the other may not, or else they will experience racism in different ways. Children who have been adopted into families that identify as a race that is not theirs often find that they struggle to fit in with their families as well as with people who identify as their own race. Not only are these families navigating US American culture at large, but they also must navigate their own family structures and what it means to be mixed. [...]
  • PLACES & NAMES: Poems, by Carl Boon

    PLACES & NAMES: Poems, by Carl Boon

    The poems in Carl Boon’s debut collection, PLACES & NAMES, coalesce two kinds of history—the factual and the imagined—to produce a kind of intimacy that is greater than either fact or imagination. It is this sense of intimacy that brings the poems to life. We encounter real places sometimes—places we see on maps and highway signs—but also places that exist only in the imagination. We encounter names that are both recognizable and almost—or barely—remembered at all: Robert E. Lee next to one of a thousand men named Jackson who went to fight in Vietnam; Jorge Luis Borges next to an unknown boy from Clarita, Oklahoma, who himself would become a poet someday; a man who wishes he were Rocky Marciano hammering the heavy bag in Northeast Ohio, hungry for more than beans or soup. And suddenly it becomes clear how intimately connected in this collection these places and names are as we range from Saigon to northern Iraq; Athens, Ohio, to Libya; Ankara to Pittsburgh; and a strange, sleepy place called Pomegranate Town where someone’s infant dozes in the back of a car on a seaside highway. The people who inhabit these places seem, in a sense, to become those places, inseparable from their geographies and histories, often unable to escape, bound by memory, nostalgia, and tradition. [...]
  • HUSBAND FATHER FAILURE: Poems, by KG Newman

    HUSBAND FATHER FAILURE: Poems, by KG Newman

    In Husband Father Failure, KG Newman explores love as metered sacrifice. In the tinted mirror of self-reflection, marriage and commitment are gauged on leverage and endurance while fatherhood — and a morphing understanding of it — is an equalizer, the bond that humbles and keeps him hanging on. From the kitchen to the front yard, from the mountainside to worn sandlots across suburbia — from a gift of life to a plea of guilt — Newman reminds the reader of the fragility of emotion, the irreversible risk of love, and of the perils and rewards of investing in the modern American family. [...]
  • Vestiges of Courage: Collected Essays, by Mireya S. Vela

    Vestiges of Courage: Collected Essays, by Mireya S. Vela

    Vestiges of Courage is a collection of personal essays that explores inequities and injustice. Raised between two cultures and two languages, Mireya S. Vela discusses how the systems in her family and in society worked to create an abusive environment that felt crushing, confusing, and hopeless. In her book, Ms. Vela delineates her experience of living through sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. This book is much more than a collection of experiences, though. Ms. Vela wants to know how and why abuse thrived in her family. She digs deep to understand why these things happened and how she survived. [...]
  • Eat The Eight: Preventing Food Allergy with Food and the Imperfect Art of Medicine, by Ron Sunog, MD

    Eat The Eight: Preventing Food Allergy with Food and the Imperfect Art of Medicine, by Ron Sunog, MD

    In 2015, after a landmark medical study proved that the early inclusion of peanut in the diet of infants prevents peanut allergy, Ron Sunog, MD, set out to develop a great first peanut food for infants. When most physicians and parents did not embrace this important new information, Dr. Sunog was determined to understand why. Eat The Eight examines how difficult it is to acquire and understand good medical evidence, the complex web of reason and emotion through which people filter medical information, and the imperative to thoughtfully temper the science of medicine with the art of medicine. Parents will learn how a healthful diet can be key to reducing their infant’s risk of developing food allergy. [...]
  • Reporting on Colombia: Essays on Colombia’s History, Culture, Peoples, and Armed Conflict, by Julián Esteban Torres López

    Reporting on Colombia: Essays on Colombia’s History, Culture, Peoples, and Armed Conflict, by Julián Esteban Torres López

    Prolonged war has drained Colombia of its most essential natural and human resources and has created an aggressive and vengeful environment of resentment and resistance. Though the second oldest democracy in the hemisphere, an effective modern nation-state has never existed. Its 200+ years of so-called democracy have been a farce given Colombia’s feudalist innards and fascist corporatism exoskeleton. Further, the continuing armed conflict is exacerbated by the country’s historical lack of hegemony, institutionalized and systemic violence, corruption, socio-political exclusion, lack of social mobility opportunities, and foreign intervention. We must curb the traditional might-makes-right conflict resolution method and the state must gain true legitimacy if Colombians are ever to manifest their potential. Julián Esteban Torres López machetes through the tall weeds of Colombia’s power vacuum and fragmented sovereignty, peels the layers of the country’s flirtation with modernity and class consciousness, dissects the insecurity of Colombia’s security policies, and looks to understand who and what stand in the way of Colombia becoming the El Dorado it could become. [...]
  • Marx's Humanism and Its Limits: Why Marx Believed We Should Achieve Socialism and Communism Nonviolently, by Julián Esteban Torres López

    Marx's Humanism and Its Limits: Why Marx Believed We Should Achieve Socialism and Communism Nonviolently, by Julián Esteban Torres López

    In this long-form essay, Julián Esteban Torres López dissects Karl Marx’s writings to make explicit a Marxian Humanitarian Theory. Torres López surveys and analyzes Marx’s work on violence, revolution, and the treatment of human life, and concludes that not only did Marx see the possibility that socialism and communism could be achieved by peaceful means, but that it should be done so. Torres López challenges the mainstream notion that Marxism has always been a war-machine that leads to tyrannical, authoritarian, and anti-democratic regimes. Instead, Torres López argues that actualizing human potential, while still treating the individual as an end, was the goal Marx endorsed. As Marx got older, he became more moderate in his justifications of violence, and he more intensely adopted the view that humans deserve to be afforded dignity and treated as ends. However, though Marx hoped the road to socialism and communism would not be stained with blood, in most places in the world, he believed, violence used as self-defense would be the lever of revolutions. Nevertheless, though the end may justify force under specific circumstances, much hinges on the uncertainty of the realization of those very ends. [...]