ALL THE WOMEN IN MY FAM­ILY SING

Women Write the World—es­says on Equal­ity, Jus­tice, and Free­dom

Foreword Reviews - - Foresight Women’s Voices -

Deb­o­rah San­tana (Ed­i­tor), Noth­ing But the Truth Pub­lish­ing (JAN­UARY) Soft­cover $16.95 (366pp), 978-0-9972962-1-1

All the Women of My Fam­ily Sing is a rous­ing com­pi­la­tion by sixty-nine women of color, fea­tur­ing es­says that ad­dress per­sonal and col­lec­tive iden­tity, his­tory, place, per­spec­tive, sex­u­al­ity, im­mi­gra­tion, and mod­ern day life.

The di­verse con­trib­u­tors in­clude ac­tress-ac­tivist Amer­ica Fer­rera; trans­gen­der en­ter­tainer Mila Jam; nov­el­ist Sam­ina Ali; hu­man­i­tar­ian and chil­dren’s rights ad­vo­cate Mar­ian Wright Edel­man; and Tammy Thea, a Cam­bo­dian refugee who sur­vived the hor­rific Kh­mer Rouge regime, and who now proudly owns her own nail salon in Cal­i­for­nia.

Al­ter­nat­ing from con­ver­sa­tional and re­flec­tive to more in­tense and pur­pose­ful, the es­says are brief and of­ten gem­like, many gleam­ing darkly with mem­o­ries of prej­u­dice, abuse, loss, or an­guish. There are tales of hard-earned tri­umph, rec­ol­lec­tions of tougher times and pride for re­silient fore­bear­ers, as well as a ques­tion­ing of fu­ture goals and bat­tles not yet won. Stan­dards of tra­di­tional art and fem­i­nine beauty are also ex­am­ined, with a fo­cus more on truly ap­pre­ci­ated di­ver­sity rather than tol­er­ated in­clu­sion or ac­cep­tance.

La Rhonda Crosby-john­son re­calls with wry elo­quence be­ing born to “Col­ored” par­ents, and through the decades be­ing called ne­gro, then black, and then African-amer­i­can—with black al­ways feel­ing the most “like home.” Phi­roozeh Peti­gara de­tails the irony of be­com­ing fas­ci­nated by her Pak­istani her­itage, only to be ad­mon­ished by her Pak­istani ex­tended fam­ily for spend­ing too much time writ­ing and ne­glect­ing her wifely du­ties. Miriam Ching Yoon Louie cel­e­brates her war­rior god­dess Korean grand­mother—“laun­dress, mi­grant farmer,” giver of life, and eco­nomic provider.

While some voices ring dif­fer­ently and oth­ers share more in a har­mony, All the Women in My Fam­ily Sing of­fers im­per­a­tive ex­pres­sions from, and ac­knowl­edg­ment of the ex­pe­ri­ences of, women of color.

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