Review: All The Women In My Family Sing

all the women

All The Women In My Family Sing: Women Write the World – Essays On Equality, Justice, and Freedom by Deborah Santana, ed. GR
Nothing But The Truth Publishing
Pub. date: January 30th, 2018

 

Edited by Deborah Santana, All the Women in My Family Sing is an anthology by and about women of color. In 69 short essays and poems the contributors bear witness to the woman of color experience. The collection is subdivided into 8 different but connected foci: identity, home, work, justice, family, beauty, illness and travel, each being a point of departure on which to reflect questions of race, gender and sexuality. The anthology features a diverse range of women of color: Black women, trans women, Asian women, biracial women, Chicana women, queer women, indigenous women.

Here are some of my favorite contributions: Shyla Margaret Machanda’s reflections on being biracial resonated with me a lot. Being mixed, a certain shade of Brown, fielding “but what are you?” questions, but also not being connected to one’s ancestors’ culture. Then there’s Mila Jam’s essay on her transgender journey, being an artist and how being successful helped with being accepted. Blaire Topash-Caldwell writes on the projects of reclaiming indigenous space and Porochista Khakpour shares the difficulties and experiences of traveling with chronic illness and under the Muslim ban. Samina Ali reminds us that women’s pain is rarely taken seriously, our symptoms brushed off and of the dangerous and lasting consequences of this.

Reading this anthology was such an amazing experience! I’ve never felt so validated, connecting with these women’s similar experiences and learning about where theirs differed. This is why I focus on women of color and it makes me so happy to see this project come to fruition. All the Women In My Family gave me that rare feeling that, as Khakpour writes, “someone, anyone, close enough, might voice a reality somewhere even remotely close to your own” (87). I read through it slowly, trying not to rush and determined to savor each contribution. Sadly, at some point I did come upon the last page, but I also know that I will treasure this book and keep it on my nightstand, knowing that whenever I need it, there will be wisdom and solidarity waiting for me.

Make sure to follow Nothing But The Truth Publishing, who brought us this gem, that has been completely produced by women of color, including publishing, editing, process management, book cover design, and promotions. And finally, remember to check out the author bio at the end of each essay, which will often lead you to more amazing works! I can’t wait to explore!

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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