Behind the Scenes: Telling to Heal: Mending Our Fractured Mindbodyspirit
Judith Flores Carmona & Lauren Rosenberg
Our article began as an exchange about our experiences as feminista academics who were bullied by university administrators because of our efforts to disrupt oppressive structures. Our outspokenness and support for student activism targeted and labeled us as “bad mujeres.” Informed by the genre of testimonio, we shared our stories to encourage JWG readers to divulge and denounce the injustices they experience on their own campuses and in society. In the article, we tell our testimonios as a Mexicana, first-generation student and scholar (Judith), and as a White ally, professor, and writing program administrator (Lauren), to show how abuses of power put us into the positions we inhabited, resisted, and continue to work with as we heal the mindbodyspirit.
We shared a draft of our article with a friend and colleague, a Woman of Color Feminist, who had also experienced gaslighting and bullying acted out on her and some of her students. After reading our work, she invited us to give a talk at her university as part of a racial justice series she had organized. Our presentation was titled, “Antiracism, Feminism, and Multiracial Solidarity Practices.”We shared strategies and reflections on antiracist activism and coalitional practices among Women of Color and White women, and among faculty and students. This presentation demonstrated our ongoing commitment to antiracist teaching practices and to the collaborative efforts feminista scholar activists can make to challenge institutional oppressions and heal together.
Our work comes at a time when we are experiencing the effects of anti-Black and anti-Asian violence and White supremacy. What is happening in academia reflects what is happening more broadly in US society. Our solidarity reinforces why this coalitional work is urgently needed.
Informed by our subjectivities and experiences at a Hispanic serving institution (HSI), as scholars from the margins of society—working-class, im/migrant Mexicana and Jewish—as mujeres and first-generation academics, playing it safe was not, and never will be, an option for us. In this article, we share our acts of resistance, informed by knowledge and experiences that spring from the body and are not separate from collective experiences, our testimonios. We divulge the value of solidarity and acknowledging our common struggles. Through our testimonios, we show the importance of knowing how to enact resistance and when not to remain silent, even as those in power, supported by institutional policies, threaten us. Most importantly, as we theorize our testimonios and the critical action they help us to enact, we share our pathway toward mending and healing our fractured mindbodyspirit.