How do you use writing or art in your life?
Writing is healing. In my scholarship and praxis, I weave my lived experience/mi voz with my methodological and pedagogical approaches. Since learning about the testimonio genre, in 1999, I found not only a tool but a process para desahogarme—una herramienta to help me and others release the weight of oppression, an approach to connect across our differences, and a link to connect with and enact solidarity.
What lessons/teachings from your family, home and/or community do you draw on in your teaching and or scholarship?
I was born in Veracruz, Mexico, raised partly in Puebla, Mexico and crossed the Mexico-U.S. borderlands when I was almost 11 years old. As soon as I learned English, I became the translator, the interpreter, the cultural broker in my family. Since I was 12 years old, I had to learn to interpret, to represent and to speak for/on behalf of my mother. I learned the power of language and the power of knowing how to speak to and with people in positions of power. I also learned to share, to tell our story and to bear witness, I learned to be a testimonialista.
What would you tell your younger self?
I would tell her to aspire, to dream, to persist. Yes, there are institutional barriers but there are also many allies willing to help—to lend a hand and use their privilege to help you thrive. I would tell her to not despair, to always have esperanza/hope.
Advice for new scholars and/or teachers?
Your story matters, your work is needed in educational spaces. You have a lot to offer and we have a lot of work to do, in our comunidades and in society.