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On 8 March 2019, The Nasiona‘s co-Founder, Julián Esteban Torres López, was the keynote speaker at “Cruzando Fronteras”—an event on immigration and border crossing, hosted by Central Americans for Empowerment (CAFÉ) at California State University, Chico. Julián’s speech tackled the role of storytelling as a tool of empowerment that can disrupt the status quo, confront caricatures, change politics by first changing culture, and help shape new paradigms.
“Cruzando Fronteras” was an event that hoped to provide a safe space to talk about the seeking of refuge and the many harsh trials and tribulations that our families have gone through, in order to inform others and each other on why anyone would want to take on the treacherous task of crossing (multiple) borders. CAFÉ wanted to provide these perspectives in an effort to better understand different experiences of struggle. Because more than that, it’s about one being able to persevere, about crossing that border, that boundary, in your own limitations and overcoming what has personally kept you back.
On this episode, we showcase the following four poets out of dozens who took the stage during the “Cruzando Fronteras” event to share their personal stories: Alondra Adame, Eva Gonzalez, Gustavo Martir, and Diana Castellanos. Then, Julián shares his keynote speech, entitled, “To the Border Crossers: It’s Time to Start Biting Their Tongues Instead of Ours.”
Alondra Adame is a graduate student at Chico State. She is entering the M.A. in English program, hoping to write a few books and read even more. A few topics she loves to speak and write about are mental health, LGBTQ issues, Chicanx culture, and events from her bittersweet life.
Eva Gonzalez is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. As a first generation student, she majored in Communication Public Affairs and minored in Diversity Studies. Her piece “I hope you are proud of me, mama” is inspired by personal experience in regards to family separation and deportation. She hopes to one day practice law and be able to work on the United States’s broken immigration system.
My name is Gustavo Antonio Martir Luna. I am a First-Generation college student currently earning my master’s degree in psychology and will also be pursuing a doctorate. I identify as Mexican American, combining both of my cultures. The piece I wrote was the beginning formation of my “dual consciousness,” as W.E.B. Du Bois called it. “Who am I?” is dedicated to all the people trying to reconcile their inner cultural dualities.
Diana Castellanos graduated from Chico State. She comes from the Coachella Valley where she has picked grapes and seen her community thrive off agriculture. She hopes to pursue higher education and bring it back home. As Atmosphere once said, “roam if you must, but come home when you’ve seen enough.”
Julián Esteban Torres López (he/him) is a bilingual, Colombia-born journalist, publisher, podcaster, author, researcher, educator, editor, and culture worker with Afro-Euro-Indigenous roots. Before founding the social justice storytelling organization The Nasiona, he ran several cultural and arts organizations, edited journals and books, was a social justice and public history researcher, wrote a column for Colombia Reports, taught university courses, and managed a history museum. He’s a Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominee and has written two books on social justice. Torres López holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and in communication and a master’s in justice studies from University of New Hampshire and was a Ph.D. candidate at University of British Columbia Okanagan, where he focused on political science and Latin American studies.
Twitter and Instagram: @je_torres_lopez
The Nasiona Podcast amplifies the voices and experiences of the marginalized, undervalued, overlooked, silenced, and forgotten, as well as gives you a glimpse into Othered worlds. Hosted, edited, and produced by Julián Esteban Torres López.
Our theme song is “Lat Dior” by Abdoulaye Mboup.
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