Yessica Garcia

I am here because I believe that girls and women  are agents of social transformation, producers of knowledge, and what hip-hop scholar Ruth Brown calls “creative genius” (Brown 2013, 2014). As a working-class, first generation college student, I strongly believe in the need to center the voices of working class girls of color in knowledge production about music, art, feminism, and film. Centering their voices, means questioning the way we conduct, analyze, present, and write about them. A question that often comes up for me is: How do we connect with audiences outside the university that many times do not navigate the world through text-based knowledge?  A good approach to this that I have found is to engage in participatory-action based research. The public scholars program is providing me with a weekly space where I can think through reciprocal methodologies and ethics of engaging with a public outside of the University.

07/02/15 /LOS ANGELES/ Jenni RiveraÕs granddaughter Jaylah Rivera during the unveiling of 125-foot-long mural and park named in honor of the Latin Grammy nominated singer JenniÊRivera. The event featured the unveiling of a 125-foot-long mural of Rivera, a Long Beach native. The Long Beach City Council in December approved naming the tree-acre right-of-way park after Rivera, who was killed at age 43 in a plane crash with six others in December 2012.  (Photo by Aurelia Ventura/La Opinion)

In the summer of 2016, I will kick-off the Mariposa de Barrio (Hood Butterfly) Project in Long Beach, California which uses non-textual components like film, Banda music, and art to connect with Latina girls and women.  Informed by Jenni Rivera’s music legacy, women of color feminist theories and praxis, this project will create space for girls and women to use artistic tools to both embrace and critique the meanings of culture, gender, race, and ethnicity they navigate in their lives. By the end of the program, we will curate an exhibit that will include oral histories, songs, artwork, and films that the girls/women create during our weekly workshops.