All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World: Essays on Equality, Justice, and Freedom

All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World: Essays on Equality, Justice, and Freedom

All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World: Essays on Equality, Justice, and Freedom

All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World: Essays on Equality, Justice, and Freedom


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All the Women in My Family Sing is an anthology documenting the experiences of women of color at the dawn of the twenty-first century. It is a vital collection of prose and poetry whose topics range from the pressures of being the vice-president of a Fortune 500 Company, to escaping the killing fields of Cambodia, to the struggles inside immigration, identity, romance, and self-worth. These brief, trenchant essays capture the aspirations and wisdom of women of color as they exercise autonomy, creativity, and dignity and build bridges to heal the brokenness in today’s turbulent world.

Sixty-nine authors — African American, Asian American, Chicana, Native American, Cameroonian, South African, Korean, LGBTQI — lend their voices to broaden cross-cultural understanding and to build bridges to each other’s histories and daily experiences of life. America Ferrera’s essay is from her powerful speech at the Women’s March in Washington D.C.; Natalie Baszile writes about her travels to Louisiana to research Queen Sugar and finding the “painful truths” her father experienced in the “belly of segregation;” Porochista Khakpour tells us what it is like to fly across America under the Muslim travel ban; Lalita Tademy writes about her transition from top executive at Sun Microsystems to NY Times bestselling author.

This anthology is monumental and timely as human rights and justice are being challenged around the world. It is a watershed title, not only written, but produced entirely by women of color, including the publishing, editing, process management, book cover design, and promotions. Our vision is to empower underrepresented voices and to impact the world of publishing in America — particularly important in a time when 80% of people who work in publishing self-identify as white (as found recently in a study by Lee & Low Books, and reported on NPR).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780997296211
Publisher: Nothing But the Truth Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Series: Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God Series
Pages: 366
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 15 Years

About the Author

Natalie Baszile, whose best-selling novel Queen Sugar was adapted for Oprah’s TV channel by award-winning director, Ava Duvernay, writes of returning to Louisiana to research Queen Sugar and finding the “painful truths” her father experienced in the “belly of segregation.”

Kelly Woolfolk, an attorney who acted in Spike Lee’s School Daze before working in the legal department of Virgin Records & as counsel for a television production company, writes about her identity growing up with “good” hair, “piss-colored,” & accused of talking white. She now sees her son’s experience in Oakland in a private school with the cloud of oppression that killed Trayvon Martin & Tamir Rice.

Blaire Topash-Caldwell, a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at U NM, writes about reclaiming Indigenous space after the history of trauma of boarding schools, the criminalization of traditional religions, the stealing of Indian children and other structural violence’s have alienated indigenous communities from healthy sociality.

Lalita Tademy, NY Times bestselling author of three historical novels, writes of being the first in her family to graduate college and eventually becoming VP and General Manager of Sun Microsystems. Leaving corporate life after 20 years to write a novel based on her Louisiana family, she was rejected 13 times before finding a publisher for Cane River, Oprah’s summer Book Pick in 2001, translated into 11 languages and San Francisco’s One City, One Book in 2007.

Michelle “Mush” Lee is a poet and educator, recipient of the New York Hip Hop Theater Festival’s Future Aesthetic Grant and Compasspoint’s Next Generation Leaders of Color Fellowship. She teaches in universities across the country and is on the Board of 826 Valencia, and a Senior Teaching Artist at Youth Speaks. Her poem, Stay, is a meditation on birthing & fighting to stay put when everything in you says run.

Mila Jam believes she has made the world a better place by not masquerading and choosing to live in her truth loving the boy people thought she was and the woman she is. An award-winning NYC nightlife recording artist, entertainer and CEO of the artist collective: THEJAMFAM, Mila toured in the hit Broadway musical RENT.

Want Chyi has an MFA in fiction from Arizona State University and was the International Fiction Editor of Hayden’s Ferry Review. She claims that the first time she went to a Punk concert as a sophomore in high school, she could forget she was not Asian enough, did not fit in, and was too small, too novel to be real to the 90% white town of Carmel, Indiana.

Rhonda Turpin’s home is Cleveland, Ohio, but she has been in prison since 2004, serving a 15-year sentence for a white collar, non-violent offense. Murderers serve smaller sentences. Her essay, Prison Parenting, explains the increase of the female prison population of over 300% in the last decade. She wrote her first book at Alderson West Virginia Prison Camp, mentored by Martha Stewart who was in the same facility.

Marian Wright Edelman, famed founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, lawyer, advocate for disadvantaged Americans, writes about her role models Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, whom she wears on medallions around her neck. Other role models Ella Baker and Jo Ann Robinson remind us “of a great heritage of strength, courage, faith, and belief in the equality of women and people of every color.”

Lisa Victoria Chapman Jones shares the frightening journey of her 18-month-old son’s two-year fight with leukemia. Jones, a Yale graduate with a MFA in film from NYU co-wrote three books with Spike Lee, all companion books to his films: Uplift the Race: The Construction of School Daze, Do the Right Thing, and Mo’ Better Blues. Her memoir is Good Girl in a Bad Dress.

Jennifer De Leon writes of her Guatemalan mother treating education like a religion in their household. De Leon is an author, editor, speaker, consultant, and creative writing instructor at Emerson College and GrubStreet Independent Creative Writing Center. She is the editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education and much more.

Samina Ali suffered a seizure and hundreds of strokes while in labor and giving birth to her son Isham. She writes of the two and a half years it took to recover. Ali is an American author and activist and serving curator of Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art and Voices, a global, virtual exhibition and co-founder of the American Muslim feminist organization Daughters of the Hajar. Her debut novel, Madras on Rainy Days was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award.

Alicia Garza reflects on Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address where she sat as the guest of Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). She was disappointed he did not the inequities of wages for Black women, and no tribute for India Clarke, a black trans woman killed in Florida last year. Garza, an African American activist and editorial writer birthed the Black Lives Matter movement with Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors.

Porochista Khakpour is an Iranian American novelist, essayist and writer. Her personal essays in the New York Times reflect on her experiences. Her novels are: Sons and Other Flammable Objects and The Last Illusion. Khakpour’s essay is about Persian New Year, or Nowruz, is not a holiday Iranians take lightly as it is any thousands of years old with roots in ancient Indo-Persian culture.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword by Deborah Santana 2

Introduction 4

Editing Identity:

Women of Color and Identity on Cultural Identity, Gender and Sexuality 10

Samina Ali Labor of Love 12

Eliana Ramage — Indian Territory 18

Camille Hayes – Zebra 20

Randi Bryant-Agenbroad – The Bad Black 22

Shyla Margaret Machanda – The Colour of Transparency 24

Sophia Remolde – Freeing My Seoul 26

La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson – From Negro to Black 28

Ugochi Egonu — African in America 30

Janine Shiota – AWOL WOC 34

Mila Jam – Home: A Transgender Journey 36

At Home in the World:

Women of Color on Immigration, Migration and the Idea of Home 39

America Ferrera — All-American 40

Blaire Topash-Caldwell — Reclaiming Indigenous Space 45

Sara Marchant – Proof of Blood 47

Fabiana Monteiro — The Perfect Life 50

Shizue Seigel – Swimming in the New Normal 54

Tammy Thea – Escape from The Cambodian Killing Fields 60

Phiroozeh Romer – This is How You Do in Karachi 63

Sridevi Ramanathan – Truth Be Told 66

Sara Marchant – Proof of Blood 69

Porochista Khakpour – Why Persian New Year Is Different 72

Trailblazers, Hellraisers & Stargazers:

Women of Color Talk Careers, Work and Worth 77

Marian Wright Edelman — The Tireless Indispensable 78

Belva Davis – What it Takes: A Letter To My Granddaughter 82

Deborah J McDuffie – Forever, For Always, For Luther 84

K E Garland – You’re Hired 87

Kelly Woolfolk – Finding Home 90

Lalita Tademy – Willie Dee 93

Charina Lumley — The Payat Paradox 96

Want Chyi – Asian American Punk 98

Kristala Jones Prather – Dreams of MIT 101

With Liberty and Justice for All:

Women of Color on the Struggle for Social Justice and Equality 106

Alicia Garza — State of the Union 107

Hope Wabuke — What Is Said 112

Menen Hailu — Invisible Women 115

Wanda Holland Greene – A Hairy Situation 118

Sugi Ganeshanathan – Whale Country 122

Intisar Rabb — Sharia Law and the Civil Rights Movement 128

In a Family Way:

Women of Color on Family & Friendship 133

Jennifer de Leon — A Pink Dress 134

Jaime Leon Lin-Yu — Offerings 139

Tara Dorabji – A Note to the Boy Who Was My Son 142

Miriam Ching Yoon Louie – Beloved Halmoni 144

Ethel Morgan Smith – The Problem with Evolving 146

Marti Paschal – A Photograph of Martin 150

Vicki L. Ward – An Exceptional Father 153

Meilan Carter-Gilkey – A Motherhood Journey 156

Maria Ramos-Chertok — Look Where You’re Living 160

Nuris Terrero – A Letter to my Son 163

Rhonda Turpin – Prison Parenting 166

Soniah Kamal – Scolding Other People’s Kids 168

Nayomi Munaweera – Thoughts on Mother’s Day 171

But Beautiful…

Women of Color Address and Redress the Beauty Myth 178

Nari Kirk – Doppelganger Dreams 180

Mercy L. Tullis-Bukhari – Black Dolls for Everyone 185

Emma Talbott – The Gift of Hair, The Gift of Joy 188

Maroula Blades – Touch-and-Go 191

Charmaine Marie Branch—Stumbling Into Beauty 194

Dera R. Williams – Not Shirley Temple Curls 196 Nira Hyman – New Year’s Day 200

Tere Romo – Re-Searching for a Truly American Art 203

Meet, Stay, Love:

Women of Color Talk Sex, Romance and Sexuality 205

Michelle “Mush” Lee – stay 210

Lucreshia Grant — Phone Sex Operator 212

Tameka Norris —One Artist’s Way 214

Veronica Kugler — The Tunnel 216

The Cure for What Ails You:

Women of Color Transcending Illness and Trauma 217

Meera Bowman-Johnson— Pressing Pause 218

Kristin Leavy Miller – A Kid Like Mine 224

Nikki Abramson – Invisibility 227

Kira Allen - On Learning to Thrive 230

Jordan Johnson – The Black Sickness 232

Lisa Jones — Nicholas 235

A Woman's Journey is Never Done:

Women of Color on Traveling Far, Wide and Deep 243

Yessenia Funes – What’s Left in La Quebrada 244

Nashormeh Lindo- From the Middle Room to the Mountains: The Artist Within 250

Jessica Rodriguez – From Crack to Condos 253

Rita Roberts-Turner – When Life is a Crystal Stair 256

Robtel Neajai Pailey – In a World Obsessed With a Passport 258

Denise Diaab – The Road to El Camino 260

Roshila Nair - Small Places 265

Contributors’ Biographies 270

Endnotes 275

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