UC Davis Writing Series and Hispanic Heritage Month
As tensions increase within the Latinx community, many feel called to protect and assist our citizens of the world. Likewise, many feel called to listen to their voices, which are louder than ever and have more to tell than just how they journeyed here. Overwhelmed by immigration stories, Jonathan Marcantoni, publisher and co-founder of La Casita Grande Press, set out to create an environment that would invite the world to see how diverse the Latinx community really is.
“I had worked in two other small presses and saw the lack of representation of writers of color but also the lack of representation of narratives from Latin America or Latin American-descended people,” Marcantoni said. “We seemed to only function as immigrants or as people facing identity crises […] most of these narratives were anti-Latin American, with the United States being depicted as the land of promise and progress, while Latin America was just a backwards desert of nothing.”
La Casita Grande Press comes at a time when the arts are often intertwined with politics (think Hamilton). Moreover, this company gives the Latinx community a chance to find home. This will be home for all of those that want to open up their minds, hearts and bodies to something bigger than what they know.
“There is obviously a very hegemonic perspective being represented in mainstream arts — white, cisgender, and heterosexual — [and] therefore I would make the claim that we [members of the Latinx community] are not well-included,” said Josiah Quirós, a fourth-year English major. “However, this also comes with a narrow geographic focal point. In the greater picture of national arts and discourse, Latinx voices are rarely, if ever, heard, but that shouldn’t stop us from creating and demanding our own spaces.”
Quirós went on to describe their vision for the Latinx community.
“We have to take matters into our own hands in order to be seen and respected,” Quirós said. “I don’t want commodified respect; I want true visibility.”
As it is currently Hispanic Heritage Month, it is a fitting time to celebrate the Latinx community. According to fourth-year sociology major Rachel Mayes, we need to see how we can be further educated.
“[Giving a voice to all types of people of color] acknowledges that people are already speaking and telling their stories, and it gives the proper attention to these voices,” Mayes said.
La Casita Grande publishing company aims to change perspectives about what Latinx people can do and think. Marcantoni wants them to all stand out. However, banding together does not mean grouping all parts of the Latinx community into one. La Casita Grande aims to show the flavor of Sofrito, Chicharrón, empanadas, salsa and more. Marcantoni wants to give a voice to every person of color. But the motivation goes beyond color; it is the person who is going to be made important.
“One must recognize that Latino is not a culture,” Marcantoni said. “It is a conglomeration of multiple cultures, and it dehumanizes those people by lumping them into a single group. We don’t treat European people as a singular culture.”
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Marcantoni has opened up his publishing company to UC Davis students by doing a series on UC Davis writers. The requirements: the submission can be a video, audio clip, short story (no more than 10 pages), poem (no more than three) or excerpts from a play or screenplay (no more than 20 pages). The topic can be anything. Videos can be films or music or performance. The deadline for submissions will be Oct. 30, and anyone can submit. Interested applicants may send submissions to email@example.com with the subject line “CAMPUS SERIES.”
Written by: Akaylah Ellison — firstname.lastname@example.org