Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

Just One Picture?

This piece is about the subtlety with which harassment occurs at work. It comes in many forms and sometimes sweeps past us so swiftly that we hardly know how to respond in the moment, how to defend ourselves, or how to defend each other. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Haunted by a 4-Letter Word

“Haunted By a 4-Letter Word” describes changing personal, political, and societal perspectives on the meaning of the role of wife across fifty years, from the first issue of Ms., to more current discussions of hetero-normativity and marriage equality. The essay tells that broader cultural story through my personal narrative as a straight Catholic school girl of 16, to my current experience as a 68-year-old lesbian-identified bi- woman partnered, then married, to a woman for thirty-eight years. The essay concludes by describing newer meanings of ‘wife’, while acknowledging some of the current complexities of the label for queers. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"


When my mother was young, she was rich / So rich that her father bought her a coat / Straight from a well known department store / At ten after closing time by knocking on the window / And shaking a hand full of money at the manager. / It was a prepossessing coat. / Georgia clay red with a furry collar. / When my mother got a little older, her family was poor / And her mother and her had to share a coat. One had to wait for / the / other to come in, order to go out.It was a hideous coat. / […]

Being Latina/e/o/x Series

When Your Name Is Escobar

In the thirty years that I’ve been living outside of my home country, Colombia, I have been asked numerous times if I am related to the drug lord Pablo Escobar. This is a predictable question since my last name is Escobar. This personal essay aims to understand why the question offends. Cultures are a rich tapestry of references, symbols, history, smells, landscapes, flavours, connections, and meanings. A migrant leaves most of her identifiers and references behind. Beyond a personal outburst of hurt, the essay tackles the effect of reducing a migrant to a stereotype. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

What It Means to Be a Woman

To get to your apartment junior year of college, you have to walk a winding path by your old freshman dorm, three newer apartments, and the community center before you arrive at home. Sometimes instead, you take a shorter path through the woods, like when it was below 40 degrees or you were running late to whatever class or club you’d committed to. On this particular night, you wrap your jacket tightly around yourself and opt for the shorter, if poorly lit, path. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

How to Be Alone with a God

I know now that when you turn a man into a god, he does not die. He is inevitable; he is Poseidon with a beard; Hades on a chariot; Pan stealing the survival of the moon. My god sits constantly at my feet, on my shoulder, behind my eyes. Gods, of course, exist for us, silent and taunting, slowly conforming themselves into conjugal intervention until they know our bodies through entrance and scrutiny of entrance. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

The Wedding Party

“The Wedding Party” was inspired by an incident I experienced at a family wedding. In the light of the events of 2020, I revisited this moment in time, as well as many other racially charged moments in my life as a mixed race person, and the result was this essay. I hope this essay shares some insight into my experience as a mixed race person and hopefully illustrates the challenges of being mixed race in what often feels like a black and white world. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

The Permanent Peace

“I’m gay,” I proclaimed to a sea of strange, blank faces. The word hung proud and uncertain, in the air just as out of place as I was, in this place and with these people, my new form and friends. Their chattering stopped dead, and a cold silence flooded the room. Hope hovered precariously on my tongue. Frozen, I stared at my dormmates, their shining, distant eyes fixed on mine. I swallowed. […]

Diaspora & Immigration Series

Ghosts Everywhere

As a mixed-race, Vietnamese person, Gabrielle Behar Trinh’s childhood often felt divided between two worlds. Sometimes, it was painfully obvious how much the world her mother existed in—Asian fruits and foods, language, ancestral traditions, and the memories of leaving Vietnam—thrived by remaining hidden from her father. Told in flashbacks of memories, including the grief following her mother’s miscarriage, this story touches on intergenerational trauma and living in-between. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"


My story describes a horrifying threat of violence I experienced at the age of nineteen, many decades ago. I recount the seemingly safe context in which it occurred, how I responded to the threat as it was unfolding and how profoundly the experience impacted on my character development. An important dimension of the story is how my need to be popular and offend no-one at the time led me to ignore my sense of impending danger. […]

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. […]


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. […]

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. […]

BIPOC Music + Spoken Word Series

TRE. CHARLES: “Stressin.”

World premiere of Tre. 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. […]