Being raised in a multicultural and multiracial family led me to feel most comfortable in diverse settings. At home I was taught to see people as human beings having common experiences of living, rather than as skin tones, ethnicities, sexualities or economic distinctions. Though I was born in Oakland, living in Canada I was referred to as Anglo as I spoke English and lived in an English-speaking province. As a child and teenager I spent several extended periods on my grandmother’s farm on the outskirts of Oaxaca learning about the family’s matriarchal history in Tehuantepec, and about Mexican culture. Growing up in Tehuantepec my grandmother and her siblings did not have electricity. She described their joy in the light of full moon nights. I listened. In graduate school I learned to discuss difference, and to articulate ways in which each person’s experience is located in a body that traverses time and space, influenced by sex, race, money, education, and privilege, among other things.
As a high school dropout, and low-income single-parent through most of university, I overcame multiple diagnosed disabilities to earn a PhD from UC Berkeley, author books, win awards, and develop expertise in teaching. Each day I bring this same level of tenacity, inspiration, and compassion to teaching, writing, and community service.
Speak truth to power.
There is more (auto)bio at the Night Music Journal interview.