Can you create a community that’s been there all along?

We all need community. Writers are no different.

Dear Reader,

Today, I’m thinking about community.

On a day where most of the country is voting on local elections, it’s not a bad topic to think about. What is a community? How does one form? How does it govern itself for its collective goal?

Since coming back from the Afro-Latina Writer’s Retreat, I think about community all the time. It’s mostly in exclamation points like I can’t believe how awesome that was! I can’t believe how great those women are! How did I get so lucky! They truly get me!

That last sentence — they truly get me — that sentence is what my brain continues to mull over.

Afro-Latinos wrestle and consider identity. Given. Are we more one or the other? If we are truly both, why the guilt? Or why is my culture decided for me?

Never have I felt that four strangers (one I knew before the retreat) knew me in that way. It’s usually a matter of adapting. I adapt when I’m around my Latino and I adapt when I’m around my African-Americans.

It’s not that one experience is more than the other, it’s just that’s it MY experience. That’s my super power to be able to survive. This concept is difficult to explain unless you live in a cultural duality unless you live your life straddling that line. But it doesn’t stop me from trying. That’s what my work is about, it’s about voice. However, I’m also slowly adding identity.

This reading on Nov. 18 will be amazing. Everyone will get a chance to see and hear what I’ve been talking about. There is amazing art out there that’s created by those who seek to form their own identity.

I think what I find surprising is that this Afro-Latino community exists. It does! We have Boricua Chicks doing their thing and they do their thing well. We have my girl Alicia Anabel Santos, a member of the retreat, doing her thing as a producer of a documentary about Afro-Latinos. Just discovered this new blogger (new to me). There’s a festival? Yes, there is! And even the academics are helping to tell our story. And that’s just a couple of people who are doing their thing!

There is a community out there for me and since announcing the reading, we’ve been welcomed with open arms! We even got some press on it.

Community. It’s a thing. And it’s my privilege to join it already in progress.

Write On,

Icess

P.S. Spaces are filling up fast for Culture, Love, and Identity: An Afro-Latina Reading.  Make sure you reserve your spot. Click here to do it.

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