Sana, Sana: Latinx Pain and Radical Visions for Healing and Justice

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    David Luis Glisch-Sanchez, Nic Rodriguez-Villafane (eds.)

    Publisher: Common Notions

    Year: 2011

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 168 pages

    ISBN: 978-1942173786

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Sana, Sana is a witness to the multiple wounds etched into the landscape of Latinx experience and a testimonial to community efforts to heal them. A multi-genre anthology rooted in the deep desire to not only acknowledge and name the various forms of pain and trauma Latinx people experience regularly, but to do so in the service of imagining new futures and ways of being that prioritize healing and justice not just for Latinx people, but for Queer BIPOC communities and, ultimately, for all people. 

The book’s vision and understanding of Latinidad is broad and expansive. It centers Black, Indigenous, Queer, Trans, and Feminist Latinidades. By advancing an unapologetically radical antiracist, anticapitalist, feminist, and queer politic Sana Sana holds creative and defiant space for identifying economic, social, political, emotional, and spiritual strategies to forge individual and collective healing and justice.

What People Are Saying

"Praise forever to the warrior healers who transform the world by opening their hearts. This anthology models the self-compassion that we need to live as our complex evolving selves. These writers are now my teachers forever. May we understand our healing as creation, reclamation, and multi-generational love. This book is here to bless you in all directions." Alexis Pauline Gumbs, PhD, author of Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals and Dub: Finding Ceremony

“With Sana, Sana: Latinx Pain and Radical Visions for Healing and Justice, editors David Luis Glisch-Sanchez and Nic Rodriguez Villafane have ushered forth a timely, biting anthology of Latinx perspectives on contemporary social and historical culture; as the social and the historical are framed by settler colonialism, capitalism, the violence of individual and collective trauma, antihuman phobias and other structures of dominance. The question raised here, grounded in Latinx, feminist and queer thought, in the idea that ‘healing requires witness,’ is, simply put, how can those of us who have been harmed intergenerationally and across worlds, across time, create and define what we mean by reparation(s). Sana, Sana arrives at a critical moment in twenty-first century abolitionist practice.” Alexis De Veaux, author of JesusDevil: The Parables

“Sana, Sana is a transformative anthology that mixes raw emotions, trauma, self-awareness, politics, spirituality, and sometimes even humor. Shared narratives of pain and collective transformation are expressed through poetry, storytelling, and testimonios, envisioning a different kind of world. It is a manual for Latinx hope.” Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, author of Translocas: The Politics of Puerto Rican Drag and Trans Performance

“First you have to name it. Say it. Unearth it. Then stomp it. And scream. Twirl it. Open to the Sky and howl it. Cry. Step into the Circle. It’s ritual. Sacred Openings that beckon us to dance and laugh and Love and feel and heal anyway. This is what Sana, Sana gives us. Mirrors. Pathways. Shimmering Light. All of this and so much more. Now is the perfect time to read Sana. And Receive.” Sharon Bridgforth, writer, performing artist, and author of bull-jean & dem/dey back

“Without apology, the voices in this anthology reveal the complexities of living with pain while simultaneously pursuing healing and justice. Whether exploring the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, or class, these works remind us that we are never alone in our pain and do not have to be alone in our healing. These stories are rooted in the power of community, connection—and ultimately love. Sana, Sana demonstrates that we all have healing tools at our disposal whether that be music, prayer, Vicks VapoRub, sewing, or simply taking shots with a friend over Facetime. The poems and essays in this collection define the reclamation of our power to heal ourselves and our communities as holy work. This work is necessary, bold, unflinching, and a timely addition to contemporary Latinx literature.” Elisabet Velasquez, author of When We Make It: A Nuyorican Novel

About the Contributors

David Luis Glisch-Sánchez (Editor) is a queer feminist antiracist healer, and is the founder of Soul Support Life Coaching, an individual and organizational coaching practice rooted in the queer Black and Latinx feminist tradition. They are also an interdisciplinary sociologist working in the areas of emotion, race, genders, and sexualities. They currently teach in the Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University at Buffalo (SUNY).

Nic Rodriguez-Villafañe (Editor) is a non-binary transmasculine Boricua poet, writer, and DJ. They are currently an adjunct professor of American Studies and Writing Arts at Jefferson University in Philadelphia. They have been an organizer for over 15 years and are a researcher with the Philadelphia Participatory Research Collective (PPRC). Their poems have been described as an "eclectic blend of spanglish hip hop rhythms and Puerto Rican jabería, born out of the southern swamps of Florida." Their writing has been featured in The Gordian Review, Philly Inquirer and N.A.S.W Journal. They are a 2012 Leeway Foundation Arts & Change grant recipient and hold an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers Newark. Like most writers they have three jobs to pay bills and six side hustles to stay busy but their main love is always the poems.

Christian A. Bracho is an Associate Professor of Teacher Education at the University of La Verne, and previously worked as a high school teacher and teacher trainer. His passions are teaching, learning, traveling, writing, exploring, and laughing. He dedicates his essay to his queridos papás, Leonor Gonzalez Bracho and Marco Antonio Bracho.

Claude M Bonazzo-Romaguera received his B.S. in Applied Sociology at Southwest Texas State University in 2001 and his M.A. in Sociology at Texas State University in 2004. He completed his Ph.D. in Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin in 2015. Claude currently teaches as a senior lecturer at Texas State University and as an adjunct associate professor at Austin Community College. Most recently they were appointed Director of  the Latina/o/x Studies Minor.

Amaris Castillo is a journalist, writer, and the creator of Bodega Stories, a series featuring real stories from the corner store. Her writing has appeared in La Galería Magazine, Spanglish Voces and PALABRITAS. Her short story, “El Don,” was shortlisted for the 2022 Elizabeth Nunez Caribbean-American Writers’ Prize by the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival. Amaris lives in Florida with her family. You can read her stories from the colmado at bodegastories.com.

Dr. Marcela Rodriguez-Campo is an interdisciplinary immigration and education community scholar. She is a formerly undocumented Colombian immigrant and first-generation college graduate. Her scholarship examines the relationship between Latinx immigrant experiences with family separation and their educational trajectories. Her work seeks to develop supportive school climates for students from historically marginalized communities. Her writings have been featured in Childhood Geographies, Latinx Talk, Latino Book Review, and Huizache. Marcela is a roller skater, gardener, and poet.

Edyka Chilomé is a queer child of migrant activists from the occupied lands of the Zacateco (Mexico) and Lenca (El Salvador) people. She was raised in migrant justice movements grounded in the tradition of spiritual activism. You can find her in the u.s. and global South sitting at the feet of elders, recovering blood memories, and making way for a new world. Learn more about her work at Edykachilome.com.

Daniel Shank Cruz (he/they) is a queer disabled boricua who grew up in New York City and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Hunter College, CUNY. Cruz is the author of Queering Mennonite Literature: Archives, Activism, and the Search for Community (Penn State University Press, 2019). Their writing has also appeared in venues such as Crítica Hispánica, Modern Haiku, the New York Times, Your Impossible Voice, and numerous essay collections.

Sinai Cota is the defiant daughter of Mexican immigrants, a first-generation college student and a Chicana poet who grew up in Barrio Logan (San Diego, CA). She has roots extending into Tijuana, Mexico where her family currently resides. Sinai is also author of: Pink Poems Tan Thoughts, Pan Dulce for the Latinx Soul and Mujeres in Movement- a series of colorful poems and bilingual short stories that promote healing and self-love through storytelling. Sinai is also an educator and doctoral student at UC San Diego, and plans to include and celebrate underrepresented student voices in higher education through her research. You can follow Sinai on Instagram @PinkChicanaPoet.

Lysz Flo is an AfroCaribbean Latine, polyglot, spoken word artist, indie author, member of The Estuary Collective, Creatively Exposed podcast host, Voodoonauts Summer 2020 Fellow and Obsidian Black Listening 2022 Fellow. She released her poetry novel Soliloquy of an Ice Queen, March 2020. Online Crystal and Spiritual wellness shop owner at Astrolyszics.com

Kate Foster is a poet, writer, and proud Brooklyn native. She is of Puerto Rican and Salvadorian descent. Her work has been published in Region(es) Central magazine Vol. II 2020 issue. As well as in Harvard Palabritas Spring 2020 issue. Kate's poems explore themes of spirituality, self-discovery, local and international social issues and navigates through the waters of human emotion. Her latest work can be found in the forthcoming Alebrijes Review anthology, titled VOZ. She is also currently working on her debut collection of poetry and prose.

Dr. Cynthia Estremera Gauthier is a poet, educator, humanist, expert facilitator, and equity practitioner. She holds a B.A. and a M.A. from Penn State University and Villanova University both in English and a PhD.in English and Africana Studies from Lehigh University. Cynthia has authored pieces published in blogs, journals, and edited collections. Cynthia leads regional and national racial equity and community engagement work and remains a lifelong advocate for strategies of self-care to combat white supremacist systems.

Jennifer Hernandez Lankford is an Alpha Latina seeking to spread radical self-love with her writing. After years of hiding from her true self she has chosen a journey to embrace the soul work to embody her inner Diosa. Jennifer’s uses her writing as a way to heal and influence other young BIPOC to do the same. As she transitions into writing more and worrying less, you can follow her on instagram @jennthewriter.

Dafne Faviola Luna is a fat brown queer from California. She is the eldest of a small Mexican-American border dwelling migrant farm worker family. After years of therapy, she has a lovely relationship with her a mom and brother rooted in body positivity and queer allyship. Her piece was written in 2017 and now in 2022 she’s made a career change and lives in Virginia with her dogs Molly and Sebastian. She’s a Capricorn, video gamer, and nerd.

Esperanza Luz was born in the Chihuahuan Desert and raised by a small pack of undocumented coyotes. After living in Massachusetts, Brazil, Peru, and Colorado, she returned to southern New Mexico to reconnect to the place she calls home. Today, Esperanza grows flowers and vegetables on borrowed land, plays capoeira, and continues to write, sew and heal.

Aja Y. Martinez is Associate Professor of English at University of North Texas. Her scholarship, published nationally and internationally, makes a compelling case for counterstory as methodology through the well-established framework of critical race theory (CRT). She is the author of the award-winning book Counterstory: The Rhetoric and Writing of Critical Race Theory.

Ana Miramontes was born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico. She holds a double BA in Theatre Performance and Media Advertising from The University of Texas at El Paso and is currently pursuing an MFA in Acting from the University of Arkansas. She has participated in the New Play Lab at the William Inge Festival, the Arkansas New Play Festival at TheaterSquared, and the Process Series in North Carolina. Actors Equity Association (EMC). https://www.anamiramontes.com/.

Daisy Muñoz is a Mexican writer and artist raised in Hawthorne, on the outskirts of the Greater Los Angeles Area. The eldest daughter of immigrant parents, she frequently addresses race, gender, mental health, and cultural identity in the U.S through her writing. Daisy graduated from UC Davis with B.A degree in History and Spanish. Her work has been featured in Raising Mothers and Hispanicdotes. She currently resides in San Francisco.

Gabriella Navas is a Puerto Rican writer hailing from Jersey City, NJ. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], GASHER, and Storm Cellar. Gabriella is currently pursuing her MFA in Fiction at The Ohio State University. She is easily distracted, frequently smitten, and always willing to talk about the healing powers of Chavela Vargas’s discography.

Yulissa Emilia Nunez Severino is a Dominican-American high school English teacher and amateur writer. She believes everyone has a story to share and enjoys helping people strengthen their writer’s voice to do so. Yulissa also enjoys reading and holds a bachelor's degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross and a master's degree from the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English. She dreams of living and working in the Dominican Republic with her loving cat, Luna.

Susana Victoria Parras (she/her/hers) is the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, mother, friend, partner and a mental health therapist of color committed to generating healing, justice and care through non-carceral practices. Before she found ethnic studies, social justice, abolition and transformative justice she found safety, hope and guidance in imperfect, spacious and loving spaces and relationships. She currently provides anti-carceral mental health therapy through her practice Heal Together, building and growing Heal Together's Anti Carceral Care Collective and organizes with CAT 911 (Community Alternatives To/Community Action Teams 911) in South Central Los Angeles where she also lives, loves, and works. Susana dedicates her life to healing as a central component for justice, resistance, and activism.

Biany Pérez, (she/they) is a Bronx-born Queer Black Dominican holistic psychotherapist, intuitive coach, brujx, writer, and proud parent of three. Biany works with high achievers and survivors, both individually and in groups, guiding them on their journey to overcome self-doubt, increase self-awareness, and reconnect to their inner wisdom so that they can thrive in love and life. Check them out at www.bianyperez.com.

Sofia Quintero is a self-proclaimed Ivy League homegirl, GenX Afro-Latina author, screenwriter and hypnotherapist. To date she has published seven books including the critically acclaimed YA novels EFRAIN’S SECRET and SHOW AND PROVE (Knopf Books for Young Readers.) Her latest novel YA novel is inspired by #SayHerName will be published in 2024.

Raquel Reichard (she/her/ella) is a journalist and editor. Currently the Deputy Director of Somos, Refinery29's channel by and for Latines, her work has been published in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, Vibe, and more. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from the University of Central Florida and a master's degree in Latine media studies from New York University. She currently lives in Puerto Rico's 79th municipality, Orlando, Fla.

Hector Luis Rivera has been performing poetry since 1990, inspired by the intersectional poetry, music, and political movements of the 1970s in NYC, where he grew up. You can hear Hector’s poetry and song in the first two Welfare Poets’ albums, Project Blues (2000) and Rhymes for Treason (2005), and in Bomba con Buya’s album “Southern Sessions”(2019). Hector is the founder of Peace Inside Out, personal and community transformation through Arts, Restoration, Community, and Health.

Frankie A. Soto is a 2x winner of the Multicultural Poet of the year award from the National Spoken Word Poetry Awards in Chicago. The New York Times called his Hispanic Heritage Month performance an absolute force. He’s been featured on ABC news and has traveled all across the country featuring at Universities, Colleges & high schools. His HIV poem Guessing Game was nominated & selected for A3C Atlanta Festival. His manuscript 'Petrichor' was a semi-finalist for the 2021 Hudson Prize with Black Lawrence Press & was a finalist for the 2022 Sexton Prize with Black Spring Press in London.

Gisselle Yepes is a Puerto Rican and Colombian storyteller from the Bronx. Currently, they are an MFA candidate in poetry at Indiana University. Gisselle is a Letras Boricuas 2022 Fellowship Recipient and a 2022 Tin House Scholar. Their nonfiction piece “On Her Waters Summoning Us to Drown” won December magazine’s 2022 Curt Johnson Prose Award in Creative Nonfiction. They are an alum of Tin House Summer Workshop, Juniper Summer Writing Institute, and Anaphora Writing Residency.




Excerpt

Queridx:  

Thank you for witnessing. As a sacred part of healing, witnessing allows us to see ourselves as whole and healthy–an act of pure rebellion in a world so titillated by our constant subjugation and conquest. We hope that you will find that this anthology listens as well as it poses questions and strives for answers, and just when we seem to find the rhythm of peace, something else arises. As we know, healing is not linear. Each voice in this anthology uses the pages to desahogar, a direct translation says to vent, but the literal meaning is to undrown. Here in this anthology, you will find writers who release that which keeps their throats on fire. Letting go of secrets and burdens, unraveling our papelitos guardados.[1] May we no longer drown from the memories of pain left unsaid. As many have experienced trauma, our instinct is to silence ourselves, to swallow our pain. We know this is one way how generational legacies of trauma continue to exist. What if the one way to interrupt this legacy of pain, is to begin with the honest sharing of our stories?  

The idea for Sana, Sana was birthed from the experiences that David (co-editor) had in interviewing queer and trans Latinxs about their encounters with social harm and learning the narratives they created and responded to around pain, trauma, and healing. In the dozens of hours of recorded conversations, it was clear: Latinx folx not only had a lot to say about pain and healing, but each, in their own way, yearned to talk about, share, and express these hard truths.  Although the method was collaborative, this initial project was singularly driven and conceived of by David. All the while the collective need that was expressed repeatedly in the process was simply that Latinx folx needed their own space where a multitude of voices, testimonios, and knowledges could be expressed, heard, and engaged. An anthology seemed like the most appropriate vehicle to hold and nurture this need. 

From the beginning, it was apparent that this effort required more than one pair of guiding hands:  enter Nic (coeditor). Nic’s experience as an organizer, gifts as a poet, calling as a healer, and depth as an intellectual made them an ideal and desired co-conspirator and collaborator.  Unbeknownst to David at the time, Nic was wrestling with some of the very same questions that would become the core of this anthology. It would seem the Universe had plans for us all along.  We share the genesis of this project, queridx reader, to articulate and underscore the fact that this anthology is more than just a book filled with pages of writing. Rather, it is best understood as ritual, ceremony, and technology, an invitation to enter your individual and our collective wounds communally and not alone. Through our writing and your reading, and the multitude of exchanges that undoubtedly will transpire, we catalyze our healing and call forth visions of and roadmaps for justice. 

The project was introduced to the wider public via social media in January 2021, and within hours, hundreds of people had begun to share the call for submissions. During a time when collectively so many of us were in isolation (almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic) and hungry for connection, the call for this anthology served as a bridge for folks to share stories and histories, parts of their pain and healing, as a process of collective witness. In this age we find ourselves. So many are searching to find a true set of customs that belong rightfully to self. In this time of feeling lost in the braided storylines of conqueror and conquered, it might just be that participating together in the ritual of storytelling is the most fundamental act of living. In reclaiming this birthright, we take back our humanity. It is about saying and doing what we need/want to imagine and heal. Each voice in this anthology offers a space to talk and feel pain, while also offering the hope of what it means to imagine, heal, and make promises to a more just world. 

We take as our title, the beginning words of the popular Latinx, Caribbean, and Latin American children’s folk saying “Sana, sana colita de rana ponte buena para mañana…,” [2] a common refrain given to children when they get hurt. In fact, the opening words “Sana, sana” provide a calm but firm command to heal. The saying operates as an emotional and spiritual salve to reassure the hurt child that despite whatever pain they might be feeling and experiencing in that moment, healing is a technology and process that is open and available to them. In this same way, it is our intention that the anthology be a reminder to all people that healing is not a commodity for the few, but a resource for the many, and that justice is just another name for healing the collective body. 

The anthology is divided into three general themes. It can be read from beginning to end, or as individual sections. As a reader you have the freedom to choose which section feels most aligned with your own present journey. 



[1] We draw on the idea of papelitos guardados as presented by The Latina Feminist Group in Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios (Duke University Press, 2001). They write, “Papelitos guardados evokes a process by which we contemplate thoughts and feelings, often in isolation and through difficult times. We keep them in our memory, write them down, and store them in safe places waiting for the appropriate moment when we can return to them for review and analysis, or speak out and share them with others” (p. 1).

[2] The folk saying as written here is how it was communicated within David’s Cubanx familia. We recognize that each region, country, island, and family might have slight variations, but all begin with the  words “Sana, sana culito de rana…” whose intent and purpose is similar, if not identical.

Tags: David Luis Glisch-Sánchez ....... feminism ....... health ....... latin america ....... Nic Rodriguez-Villafañe ....... queer liberation ....... racism ....... trans-gender-queer ....... transformative justice .......