Being Latina/e/o/x Series

What Does It Mean to be Colombian?

Can we really sit down and agree on a set of characteristics to essentialize what it means to be a Colombian? Once challenged to unpack what it means, most will recognize inherent limitations to this endeavor as there are any time one tries to essentialize anything. In the process of constructing an identity, one always leaves something out when trying to include something else. […]

Inside Look Series

Libraries Answer Your Burning Questions, Part 2

In this 2-part series, we asked libraries across the United States to answer some of your burning questions. In Part 2, we asked them: How can authors collaborate with you to spread the word about their book to potential readers? Are you open to circulating self and small-published books by local authors? If you can’t buy the book, do you accept donations? […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Books on Deconstructing Oppressive Systems and Cultures of Domination

As The Nasiona’s creator, I thought I’d start an annual series of the books I’ve read (or reread) throughout the year that focus specifically on deconstructing oppressive systems and cultures of domination. By doing so, I hope to give you a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes to better prepare to serve our communities. Enjoy this list of 44 books. Hopefully some of these titles make it onto your to-be-read pile for 2022. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 64 – Decolonizing & Indigenizing Storytelling, Part 2

This is Part 2 of a virtual public event Julián Esteban Torres López gave on what it means to decolonize and indigenize storytelling, hosted by Texas A&M University, San Antonio. He talks about the relationship between language and identity; how the concept of time can be used to challenge hegemonic epistemologies; the importance of centering and circulating thinking and art from the Global South; and more. Dr. Alexandra Rodriguez Sabogal interviews Julián, followed by a Q&A with the audience moderated by Dr. Katherine Gillen. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat

The South will birth a new kind of haunting / in your black girl-ness, your black woman-ness. / Your body becomes a poached confection— / honeyed enigma pledging to be allegiant. / The muddied silk robe waving in their amber / grains of bigotry. / Your skin—a rhetorical question, / blood-stained equation no one wants to answer. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 63 – On Healing, Transformation, & Reclaiming Authority of Your Authenticity

What does it mean to show up as you beyond the you you were told to be? Christine Cariño joins Julián Esteban Torres López to discuss the philosophy of authenticity, how getting over trauma often means finding your way back to that person you were before the trauma, and the transformative process of rerooting and replanting yourself and reclaiming deferred dreams. This episode is about healing, empowerment, and giving ourselves permission to say yes to ourselves, to allow ourselves to feel, and to create the conditions we need to fully become ourselves. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 62 – Decolonizing & Indigenizing Storytelling, Part 1

What does it mean to decolonize and Indigenize storytelling? How do institutionalized Euro-centric storytelling frameworks limit creativity, understanding of stories and histories, and how we relate to others, our selves, our environment, and our art creations? In this episode, Julián Esteban Torres López addresses the importance of decolonizing storytelling, affirming Indigenous storytelling traditions, and creating safe and encouraging spaces for BIPOC stories. […]

Editors' Corner

Our Narratives Become Our Future: Designing a Story with the Traumatized at the Center

“We can sit in our corners mute forever while our sisters and ourselves are wasted, while our children are distorted and destroyed, while our earth is poisoned; we can sit in our safe corners mute as bottles, and we will still be no less afraid. […] People are taught to respect their fear of speaking more than silence, but ultimately, the silence will choke us anyway, so we might as well speak the truth.” – Audre Lorde […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 61 – Being Latina/e/o/x

A tour of what it means to be Latina/e/o/x through the voices of previous The Nasiona Podcast guests: Sylvia Salazar, Colette Ghunim, Alondra Adame, Eva Gonzalez, Diana Castellanos, Mireya S. Vela, Liza Ann Acosta, Alexandra Meda, Christina Igaraividez, J.L. Torres, Irma Herrera, Beezy Montaña, Ra Avis, Patrick A. Howell, Carlos Carrasco, and Deborah Taffa. Our stories are complex, nuanced, and deserve to be heard. In the show notes, you can find links to the previous guests’ episodes. […]

Deconstructing Dominant Cultures Series

Episode 60 – Growing up Black and Brown in a White Town

What’s it like growing up Black and brown in a predominantly white town? Joe Sparkman and Julián Esteban Torres López share their experiences of growing up together in the 1990s as teenagers in Nashua, New Hampshire: Money magazine’s best place to live in the US in 1987 & 1997; where JFK announced he would run for president; and home to the first racially integrated US team in modern baseball. With this episode we glimpse into the kinds of situations that give rise to activists and social justice warriors. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

We Are Nice Humans: An Interview with Fran Meneses (Frannerd)

As a Latina, a Chilean, an immigrant, feminist, and lesbian, Fran Meneses (Frannerd) has lived life under the patriarchal dictatorship of Pinochet, watched as family members struggle to make ends meet under widening wealth gaps, and recently witnessed the manifestations in her native country that have led to the rewriting of the Chilean constitution. All of these factors play into how she expresses herself. […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

Episode 59 – The Nuyorican Hallway: Belonging & Living Between Worlds

J.L. Torres is the author of Migrations, the inaugural winner of the Tomás Rivera Book Prize. His work focuses on the diasporican experience—living in the inbetweeness that forms and informs the Puerto Rican experience. We dissect the central themes of Migrations—a collection of stories deeply rooted in Puerto Rico’s history—where he elevates the experiences of Othered individuals. This is a far-ranging conversation that spans colonialism, Nuyorican identity, colorism, Critical Race Theory, and healing. […]

Diaspora & Immigration Series

Hyphenated

“Hyphenated” revisits a year in the author’s life when she changed her name in order to fit in. She then had to question her hyphenated identity on a trip to her birthplace, realizing that her ancestry was only just a part of her. This essay briefly explores what it feels like to have multiple cultural identities. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Fuck the Homophobes

I was inspired to write this piece about homophobia when my partner and I were treated very differently from the customers in our small shop that she has used for years. Even in a place I consider mostly liberal, we encounter homophobia often. We figured we could hide, or just be proud of who we are. So, we decided, fuck homophobes! We are not going away! If even one young person who feels alone can see us and feel less alone, then the discomfort is worth it. This piece was aired on BBC Radio Uploads Suffolk on 7/8/2020. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Black and Other

“Black and Other” touches upon some of the layers of my journey to my authentic self, some layers being race and color. When a light skin girl, with long curly hair tells you she’s Black and you think to question her. Think about how white supremacy has carved into us that being Black is not good enough. When she tells you she is Black, do not question her. Because being Black is enough. […]

Diaspora & Immigration Series

An Ounce of Gold

In “An Ounce of Gold,” Hao Tran met with his kid brother on a special occasion and the two relived their past histories as Vietnamese refugees in the United States. The story about the brother was one of thousands of boat people who escaped South Vietnam after the end of Saigon and settled in America to live the stereotypical life of a well-assimilated immigrant. The story dives deeper into the trauma of their pasts and the ambiguity they find themselves in as citizens of no country. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

How to Be Mixed in a One-Drop World

This essay reflects on the life of a multiracial child growing up in a predominately white, isolated, rural town and the complexity of harboring identities seemingly misaligned. It questions the tokenization of mixed-race peoples and what it means to be mixed-race in a world still indoctrinated with the ideology behind the “One Drop Rule.” […]

Diaspora & Immigration Series

A Tale of Two Tongues

i’m a chameleon with two tongues in my mouth / Punjabi and English / my mother tongue / and the other tongue / one the language of my blood the other of reason // i couldn’t speak anything except my mother tongue until i was five / Punjabi is what i spoke, it was how i was safe and survived/ Punjab comes from the Persian words panj, meaning five, and ab meaning water / it represents the five powerful rivers flowing across the lands / […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

A Sort of Fairy Tale

This piece describes the author’s first queer romantic experience, which took place after she began working at a commercial BDSM dungeon. As the title suggests, the piece examines the gulf between fantasy and reality, courage and fear, desire and reluctance, as the author navigates a new world. […]

Diaspora & Immigration Series

Nuances of Race and Identity

As a Kenyan of South Asian descent, my sense of identity is deeply intertwined with the East African country that my ancestors chose as their home many generations ago. Growing up in Kenya, I knew who I was. But by moving to Canada, a country where you are defined by ethnicity and not nationality, I experienced a disconnect between how I looked and how I felt. I do not know where I belong anymore. This piece of writing captures an aspect of that realization, and loss. […]