Scholar Stories: Dra. Laura M. Jiménez

How do you use writing or art in your life?

This is such a complicated question. I write to communicate, to bring truths, to claim space in my field that is so incredibly invested in a White, straight, cis, able, Christian, male ideal. The act of Testimonio on the daily is both exhausting and affirming. 

I consume and share literature, especially visual literature (picturebooks and graphic novels) with teachers. My goal is to have k-12 students to see themselves and others in beautiful and complex ways by reading fabulous books.

What lessons/teachings from your family, home and/or community do you draw on in your teaching and/or scholarship?

The power and truth of stories. I was raised with my Chicano family who were all story tellers. Storytelling is based on first learning to listen, which is too often overlooked. We all listened to and told stories to connect, to learn, to participate in a family that was spread across a continent and time.

I truly believe if I can reach readers and students with a story, then they can carry that idea with them moving forward, and perhaps, I can change the way they see the world.

 What would you tell your younger self?

You are not stupid. 

You are Chicana and you are White and that’s just fine.

Yes, she likes you that way. 

 Advice for new scholars and/or teachers:

You are entering a system that is hell bent on not changing, that is purposefully designed to marginalize and oppress. Your learning must continue. Find your people, identify your sphere of influence, set goals, love and laugh when you can, and rest when you must. 

Something else you want to share?

Intersectionality is the only why we can overcome the status quo. But, that means we all must learn about each other, across identities. Specifically, Latinx communities must celebrate and engage with LGBTQIA members. I’m Latina, and I’m a lesbian. Don’t make me leave one identity at the door for your comfort.

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