Karla Diaz
       
     
Mario Ybarra Jr.
       
     
Carolyn Castaño
       
     
Michael Alvarez
       
     
Raul Balthazar
       
     
Melissa Hidalgo
       
     
John Valadez
       
     
Sandra de la Loza
       
     
Karla Diaz
       
     
Karla Diaz

“I think I would always continue to teach because I believe that in teaching you are really acquiring knowledge. So when I teach, I am not only giving knowledge but I am also getting it…so what works for me and the ideal for me would be to not teach in university setting or school but I would teach in a mentorship or apprenticeship program. I truly believe in a mentorship paradigm because when you have a mentorship relationship with someone it’s not defined by one semester or one year or certain things. It’s a lifetime commitment. Like you’re a padrino or a madrina, you take that s*@# seriously. At least I do.”

“That kind of mentorship worked from me. Manuel “Manzanar” Gamboa was not an ideal candidate or mentor for me by their standards. He was an ex-con and he was my mentor. If I would’ve told my mom!? She already thought I was partying and drinking when I would come home late from La Plaza (de la Raza) and I had just come free classes!”



Mario Ybarra Jr.
       
     
Mario Ybarra Jr.
Carolyn Castaño
       
     
Carolyn Castaño
Michael Alvarez
       
     
Michael Alvarez
Raul Balthazar
       
     
Raul Balthazar
Melissa Hidalgo
       
     
Melissa Hidalgo

“I studied 19th century British and Irish literature mainly because I loved Oscar Wilde and James Joyce. I read other, more contemporary British and Irish literature that I loved: Jeanette Winterson; Roddy Doyle; later, Colm Toibin; Colum McCann; Anne Enright. Morrissey's lyrics.”

“And then I grew into my Chicana identity: I started reading, for the first time, writers that told stories I could relate to, rather than stories I didn't know but wanted to be part of. Yes, I imagined all the time what it would have been like to wander Leopold Bloom's Dublin on June 16, 1904. But when I read Cherríe Moraga's Loving in the War Years for the first time as a junior English major at UC Berkeley (it would take that long for me to read anything written by someone other than a white Anglo-Irish person from the 19th century), something in me awoke. I knew her. I recognized her experiences. She wrote about being a lesbian, a late-blooming Chicana. I wanted to read more by Moraga and other Chicanas. So I found them: Moraga, Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, Helena Maria Viramontes, Gloria Anzaldua. These are my Chicana literary influences. To this day, I think about how can I write myself into this fierce Chicana literary lineage? What have these chingonas taught me about writing? In my work, I want to honor these writers as my literary forebears.”

John Valadez
       
     
John Valadez
Sandra de la Loza
       
     
Sandra de la Loza

“Cherríe Moraga was my writing instructor when I was an undergrad. Through her classes was the first time that I experienced an education that the heart connected with the mind. In that, she instituted a pedagogy definitely driven by a lot of love and a lot of belief in us as young people. And she was really generous in creating a space that validated who we were, our experiences and gave us space to name ourselves. Where the education can be guided by love – loving ourselves and each other and who we are through understanding ourselves historically, culturally, and politically.”

“Letting go of certain definitions of what an artist should aspire for has given me a certain level of freedom. It’s freed me up a bit and helped me focus and center on the processes or the questions that I am wrestling with. And also my goals. It’s helped me pursue goals that are moving more towards creating what I want to live in, rather climbing up existing structures or ladders.”

“...things that push and drive my work are a desire to understand power and how it operates and where oppressive power resides. How it shapes our world, the landscapes we live in, our notions of self, how it impacts the way we live in our bodies and shed those myths.”