How do you use writing and art in your life?
Writing for me is a way to amplify the stories of the emergent bilingual students I have the privilege of working with. I remember growing up and not having my language or my culture as part of the school space. My parents, at home, were my primary source of cultural nourishment of language, stories, testimonies, and family history.
What lessons/teachings from your family, home and/or community do you draw on in your teaching and/or scholarship?
I grew up in the United States, away from all my extended family in Colombia. I remember my parents, especially my father sharing stories of his childhood. These stories made me feel connected to my ancestors and pushed me to make sure that Latinx communities that are often ignored here in the United States were central in my own classroom as well as the classrooms I worked with.
What would you tell your younger self?
I would tell myself that the work I decided to become involved in was not going to be easy, but definitely worth it. I would tell myself that unfortunately there were never be a moment when the work we so desperately seek to complete is done. The emotional labor becomes tolerable and manageable, especially when you surround yourself with colegas that are equally and deeply passionate about providing culturally and linguistically diverse texts to students of color. These partnership with sustain and fuel you to continue the important work despite the political and cultural wars that rage on against communities and students of color.
Advice for new scholars and/or teachers:
Find other like-minded individuals. The work of centering students of color knowledges, languages and cultural is not easy, but is so desperately needed. The only way to survive is to surround yourself with likeminded colegas, teachers, and community members. community. They will be there for you to think through ideas, vent to and lift you up.