As much as I enjoyed my experiences in academia, the entertainment industry, and the worlds of personal and spiritual development, I never enjoyed the unspoken requirement that I conceal my perspective as a woman-of-color in order to fit in. Even when I was among other people of color, there was a tacit agreement not to bring up race and ethnicity in  ways that would make white people uncomfortable. It was an isolating  experience that I didn’t question because I thought that’s how it had to be: assimilate or fail.

It was only when I claimed my identity as a Latina from the Bronx that I was able to share parts of myself that had long been obscured. And it was only when I began sharing these parts of myself with other people of color, and exploring the role that white supremacy had played in the formation of my life and identity, that I began to find my voice as a writer and teacher.

Our culture is increasingly mixed and I believe it will grow stronger, more interesting, and more vital because of that. And I also believe that it remains essential to provide spaces where writers of color can be free from the pressures that come from white-centered environments and discover their voices undisturbed.