Bestselling author of The Distance Between Us and A Dream Called Home
As a former community college student, I know how important it is for entering college students to have access to a supportive learning environment where they are encouraged and uplifted, taught to persist and resist, and empowered to ask hard questions of themselves, their communities, and the world. Thanks to your commitment to Puente, countless students will benefit from a positive sense of community and belonging within your classrooms. I am overjoyed to present to you this anthology created by and for the Puente Project. Through this curriculum, not only will Puente students find validation, they will be challenged and empowered to believe in themselves and their potential. They will learn to think critically, question the world around them, seek answers within and outside of themselves, and see themselves as agents of change. They will be exposed to a diverse range of community leaders and renowned changemakers—writers, scholars, artists, thinkers, and activists–role models to be inspired by! I am excited for them to engage with the works of established influential voices such as Gloria Anzaldúa and Angela Davis and to be introduced to emerging leaders such as Amanda Gorman and Malala Yousafzai. Through the suggested activities, videos, podcasts, music, and text selections in each unit, students will engage in meaningful conversations and projects and will acquire the tools and skills that will ultimately lead to their development as working professionals and changemakers themselves. I hope that this anthology will be a valuable resource for you and your students and that it will help to further enrich the work you do. Each unit in the anthology introduces students to important topics such as culture and race, immigration, gender and sexuality, and the environment. The unit on counter-storytelling was especially powerful to me because it was at my community college where my dream of becoming a published writer was born. When my English professor introduced me to the works of Chicana/Latina writers such as Sandra Cisneros, Helena Maria Viramontes, Julia Alvarez, and Isabel Allende–authors I’d never been exposed to before–I suddenly had role models to follow. I also had physical proof that Latinx stories matter and that writing our stories ourselves, on our own terms, was an act of activism. Ever since my community college teacher put books such as The House on Mango Street and The Moth and Other Stories into my hands, the desire to write my own counterstory has shaped my writing. This is true for so many other writers, like Jaquira Diaz, whose essay, “Girl Hood: On (Not) Finding Yourself in Books,” featured in the Educational Equity Unit, so powerfully illustrates how not seeing yourself in the texts you read at school can have a detrimental effect on your sense of self. As a Mexican immigrant, the unit on immigration resonated strongly with me. In addition to scholarly articles and documentaries about immigration, the unit centers the voices of immigrants themselves such as Alberto Ledesma, Yosimar Reyes, Javier Zamora, Alan Pelaez, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio–those of us at the forefront of the issue. Students will also get to meet award-winning editorial cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, who is never afraid to call out the hypocrisy of anti-immigrant people through his political cartoons, or the columnist Gustavo Arellano, a writer who through his use of satire and witty sarcasm offers pointed political analysis and debunks stereotypes about Mexicans. I love that the anthology closes by highlighting the work of the Puente Comunidad. The talented Puente students, educators, and alumni featured in the unit contribute tremendously to the richness and authenticity of the anthology. This is, indeed, a living document that proves that the path these students are embarking on toward their dreams is a worthy one. Reyna Grande Bestselling author of The Distance Between Us and A Dream Called Home
Table of Contents
The Puente Anthology is a resource for educators that could be used in Puente middle school, high school, and community college classrooms and is coded by suggested grade level. Please be mindful of reading and reviewing anything you plan on teaching, using discretion appropriate to your classroom and community.
See the Note to the Educator for more scaffolding to the chapter and the complex subjects and texts presented.
Click on images to go to chapter content:
Illustrations by Melanie Cervantes
Puente Alumna, El Camino College
Many thanks to the team who poured energy and corazón into bringing this project to life! PUENTE ANTHOLOGY COLLABORATORS & CONTRIBUTORS: Erika Brenes Ariana Brown Laura Diaz Grace Ebron Gustavo Flores Maria Figueroa-Chacon Elsie Rivas Gomez Michelle Gonzales Janette Johnson Sharon King Kristin Land Phillip Leyva Melinda Martinez Jamie Moore Gizelle Roberson María Romo-González Paula Silva Fabiola Torres SPECIAL THANKS TO Ariana Brown Josefina Canchola Melanie Cervantes Reyna Grande Larissa Gomez Vazquez