How can memoir be a political act? When living under oppressive systems, the simple act of standing up and sharing personal stories that go against the mainstream is a political act. Mireya S. Vela and Julián Esteban Torres López meditate on this issue, which is an essential part of each other's work. Vela speaks from the perspective of an author, while Torres López forwards his experience as a publisher. Through their work, they both explore systemic inequities and injustice and use memoir to challenge, expose, and defiantly try to break down structures that have traditionally marginalized, undervalued, overlooked, and/or forgotten so many.
Mireya S. Vela is a Mexican-American storyteller and visual artist. Addressing the needs of immigrant and Mexican families, and the disparities they face every day, is a core aspect of her work. Vestiges of Courage, Mireya's debut book, is a collection of essays. She has received four Pushcart nominations. Her work can be found in Hippocampus Magazine, Noble/Gas Qtrly, Not Your Mother's Breastmilk, The Nasiona, Miracle Monocle, Blanket Sea, and Collective Unrest. An inspiring speaker and expert research specialist, Mireya holds a bachelor's in English from Whittier College and a master's in creative writing from Antioch University. She is found on www.mireyasvela.com.
Julián Esteban Torres López is a Colombian-born journalist, publisher, podcaster, and editor. Before founding the nonfiction storytelling organization The Nasiona, he ran several cultural and arts organizations, edited journals and books, was a social justice and public history researcher, wrote a column for Colombia Reports, taught university courses, and managed a history museum. He's a Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominee and has written two books on social justice. Torres López holds a bachelor's in philosophy and in communication and a master's in justice studies from the University of New Hampshire and was a Ph.D. candidate at University of British Columbia Okanagan, where he focused on political science and Latin American studies. He is found in https://jetorreslopez.com/.