Curando y Resistiendo is an oral history project in progress focusing on the Puerto Rican communities of Holyoke, Massachusetts and New York City. I envision it as a long, multi-faceted research project focusing on substance abuse and addiction within Puerto Rican communities. Utilizing oral history, I would like to explore the human stories that underlie stereotypes and preconceived notions outsiders have of Latino communities as a whole, and particularly of substance abusers within those communities. As the title of the project implies, Curando y Resistiendo will comprise a series of oral history interviews that deal not only with the disease of addiction itself, but strategies of healing and resistance. Particularly, I am interested in exploring how Puerto Rican women have resisted and healed themselves and their families through art, writing, and religious and spiritual practice.
The goal of Curando y Resistiendo is to disrupt the deficit model usually employed in collecting history around Puerto Rican communities and addiction. We know addiction has been an epidemic from the 1960s on in US-based Puerto Rican communities. The questions that Curando y Resistiendo seeks to address are how did women resist these narratives and combat them in their daily lives? How have women healed themselves and their families using alternative and creative methods? How have writing, engaging in the visual arts, spirituality, and alternative medicine figured into the ways in which women have brought themselves, their families, and their communities back from the edge?
This project is undertaken with the support of the UMass Oral History Lab. The oral history recordings will be housed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst as part of the Special Collections and University Archives of the W.E.B. DuBois Library. Copies will be given to participants for personal use.
I am currently seeking participants for this project: Women who have suffered from addiction, or have been the caretakers of partners, friends, and family members who have, as well as women who have engaged in community work focused on substance abuse and the arts. If you are interested in participating, or know someone who may be, please fill out the contact form below.