About the Podcast
This show highlights struggle and how those of us who are moving beyond struggle have found our authentic selves, how we’ve built our own families and community circles, and continue to seek our own joy. We (and our allies) strive to add to the cultural movement where it’s acceptable to be oneself, to create a space where people are emboldened to be themselves, and to help people feel less alone. Scapegoated, ostracized, bullied, or abandoned, we are living proof that through hard work, validating ourselves, and with an ongoing commitment for change and inclusion–both in our own lives and for everyone we love–we thrive.
About the Hosts
I am a writer, artist, and arts teacher. Born from privilege in a southern midwest culture, I didn’t thrive with my original tribe. Always seeking more understanding, I used my creativity to cope. Expanded on my strengths: tenderness, reliability, compassion, kindness, loyalty, curiosity, and service, and made a good life grow from naming my own value. I am responsible for the systematic oppression I still benefit from. I work every day with diverse communities to bring down old systems and engage in building new, more inclusive ones. I engage in messy conversations about race. My perspective constantly updates as I learn more and embrace the truths of people who do not look like I do nor live like I live. This is the best way I love.
My work can be found in Lady/Liberty Lit, Lunch Ticket, Made In LA’s third anthology, and more. I have launched and managed Lunch Ticket’s Youth Spotlight, featuring young writing voices. I am an outreach coordinator, and as an educator and writing specialist, my work at Antioch University Los Angeles has continued to focus on students’ unique expression. A member of the DWG Writers group, I’m writing short pieces while focusing on my forthcoming novel. I value authenticity. Always looking up and out, I believe in second chances, in rest, restoration, and mercy.
Mireya Serrano Vela
I’m a first generation Mexican-American artist, writer, and educator. I grew up in El Monte surrounded by inequity and abuse. I survived not only systems of severe racism, but violence by members of my own family. My family of origin often used me as a scapegoat to systemic problems. I was the “problem” kid because I rebelled—and was a truth-teller. Since then, I’ve departed from that toxic family. I’ve started my own family and work tirelessly to build a community that understands where I’ve been and embraces where I’m headed.
As an adult, I spent 16 years in research and evaluation, trying to understand and guide systems of change for BIPOC in school and school districts, programs, policy, and health care. Now, I’m working on following my passions as an artist and writer.
My work can be seen in publications such as Cultural Weekly, Acentos Review, Hippocampus Magazine, Noble Gas Quarterly, Miracle Monocle, and The Nasiona. My book Vestiges of Courage: Collected Essays is available through Amazon.
My artwork has appeared in literary journals The Nasiona, Cultural Weekly, VoyageLA and Sentience Lit. My work was displayed for The Compass Art Show (2020) and Shifting Narratives: The Strength of Women Survivors.