Being Latina/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. […]

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/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. […]

Being Latina/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. […]

Interviews

Episode 35: Isolation, Grief, and Sisterhood While Incarcerated, Part 2

Ra Avis joins Julián Esteban Torres López again, this time to discuss how people do not rehabilitate via isolation alone, her experience dealing with grief and trauma while incarcerated, and the shocking aspect of realizing that one of the only women-run societies in the world is a women’s prison, which was one aspect of incarceration that she found herself missing after she was out. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Episode 33: Journeys: Inbound, Outbound

Today we showcase the work of two essayists — Stephen D. Gutierrez and Morelle Smith. We selected these pieces to share with you today because of the kind of inner world exploration many of us have been experiencing during the pandemic lockdowns, while simultaneously craving for a time when we can travel freely once again. Today’s episode takes you into two kinds of journeys: the inner world of the Self, and the external world of traveling through a foreign land. […]

Diaspora & Immigration Series

Episode 32: Imaginative Biography: PLACES & NAMES

We showcase Carl Boon’s debut collection, PLACES & NAMES, and speak with the poet. His poems coalesce two kinds of history—the factual and the imagined—to produce a kind of intimacy greater than either fact or imagination. The people who inhabit these places—as we range from Saigon to northern Iraq; Athens, Ohio, to Libya; Ankara to Pittsburgh—become those places, inseparable from their geographies and histories, often unable to escape, bound by memory, nostalgia, and tradition. […]

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. […]

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. […]

Womanhood & Trauma Series — "Give Us a Smile"

Stalker, Stalker, Rapist: A (Sub)Version of Duck, Duck, Goose for Feminists

In a child’s game, roles and blame flip with little more than the pointing of a finger. Terminology emerges for experiences that couldn’t be acknowledged without words to label them; new legislation and culture changes follow. #MeToo. But even the most positive changes can be weaponized against those they were meant to protect. Beware the smiling woman. […]

Diaspora & Immigration Series

Ecija Siete

Whether caused by gentrification or war, displacement is an increasingly common aspect of the human experience. Growing up between three cultures and languages, Carmen Morawski’s personal essay, “Ecija Siete,” explores what constitutes home and belonging. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Resilience

In search of healing, both for her damaged knee and “broken” sexuality, Erica tests her faith in her own resilience. As she slowly recovers from surgery and the fallout of coming out as a lesbian, she starts to see the dark side of her desperate need to believe in her ability to bounce back. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Episode 27: To the Border Crossers

On this episode, we showcase the following four poets out of dozens who took the stage during “Cruzando Fronteras”—an event on immigration and border crossing—to share their personal stories: Alondra Adame, Eva Gonzalez, Gustavo Martir, and Diana Castellanos. Then, Julián Esteban Torres López shares his keynote speech, which 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. […]

Being LGBTQIAA+ Series

Telenovela

J. Daniel Cruz recounts his story as a gay Mexican immigrant in the United States in his journey through acceptance, love, loss, and family ties. Cruz explores the religious, social, and familial struggles that arise when a family member identifies as LGBTQ. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Discovering Dangerfield

In the years before my grandmother’s death, she became the enthusiastic genealogist of our family, piecing together tales so extraordinary I can sometimes hardly believe they recount the genesis of our family. Now, after my grandmother’s death, I feel my tenuous grasp on my heritage slipping, so I revisit her expansive research and discover the complexities of my heritage are so much more astonishing than I could anticipate. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Excerpt from Memoir: King Leopold’s Daughter

“Imagine my hill at the edge of a road. Imagine a city, Kinshasa, a recent Belgian colony made independent nine years earlier. Imagine my white Belgian father, an architect waiting to make deals with one of the cruelest dictators of our times: Mobutu Sesseseko. Imagine my metisse mother, born as a simple brown girl in Burundi, now the queen of the continent, thanks to papa. Imagine me, a four-year-old brown girl, waiting for the sun to set to sneak out of the house to my castle at the end of a road, on the side of a hill.” […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Beach Speak

“Beach Speak” focuses on Angelica Julia Davila’s identity as Latinx through the use of the Spanish and English languages. Documenting her struggle with both languages while a child, Angelica explores what it means to accept who one is on the inside. It is a piece that touches on the shame of being seen as different while growing up in the United States. […]

Being Mixed-Race Series

Half-Cooked

This story is about food. And identity. And how each feeds the other. In a series of vignettes and reflections on Hana Etsuko Dethlefsen’s relationship with family, culture, food, and recipes, she explores the bitter-sweetness of an identity that is defined by being in-between. […]

Diaspora & Immigration Series

Eating Lice

My mom was an immigrant for eighteen months. I have been an immigrant for twenty-seven years. What made our migrations different? Mom was borderline illiterate, had six children and chose a husband poorly. I earned a Ph.D., had only one child, married a good man, divorced him, and married a better one. I teach at a university where I’m surrounded by intelligent people with inquisitive minds. I don’t know if education was the key, or who we married, or fate. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

When My Name Is José

“When My Name is José” is a playful take on when and how often someone’s gotten Juan Carlos Reyes’s name wrong since he was a kid. The concerns are local and universal: navigating a new culture, assimilation, and the politics of speaking up. […]