Rosana Cruz

Founder | Racial Justice Reads
Pronouns: they/them

Rosana Cruz is a writer, parent, racial justice facilitator, cultural organizer, intersectional feminist and tgnc witch. They have lived in and loved New Orleans, Louisiana for the last 22 years. Essays by Cruz have been published in hipMama, Bridge the Gulf Project, Colorlines and the anthology Mamaphonic. Cruz is a 2017 and 2020 VONA Voices Fellow. Their fiction has been published in Black Warrior Review and their writing practice is now centered on Speculative Fiction and Afro-Futurist influenced Magical Realism. They are the founder of Racial Justice Reads. You can follow RC on twitter, instagram or at rosanacruz.com

Presentations from Facing Race 2020

Black Histories, Black Fiction, Black Futures: Writing Paths to Freedom

Toni Cade Bambara once wrote: “Words set things in motion. I’ve seen them doing it. Words set up atmospheres, electrical fields, charges. I’ve felt them doing it. Words conjure.” Indeed, perhaps nowhere is this most evident today than in the world-building words of Black writers of Speculative Fiction. Amidst the looping history of Black resistance, Rivers Solomon and Tananarive Due have each woven new visions of the past, present and futures. Straddling multiple genres and timelines, these authors who weave stories from the threads of Black history. Through their writings, they voice reckonings, reveal true world horrors and carve new possibilities. Their books are a salve against the wounds of racist lies, and warning signs against the doom of repeating the past.

Due, best known for her horror work on the page and now on the screen, draws from her family’s roots in the struggle for Civil Rights. Solomon plumbs the depths of the ocean, outer space and the human mind to re-examine the ravages that Black people have survived. In a live, moderated conversation with Racial Justice Reads founder, Rosana “RC” Cruz, these brilliant visionaries share their inspirations, influences, histories and hopes and ground justice discourse in the legacy of Black authors who write towards liberation.

Moderator(s): Rosana Cruz Speakers: Tananarive Due, Rivers Solomon

Spells, Songs and Prayers: Magic Words for a Just Tomorrow

For hundreds of years, the people of the African Diaspora have lit paths towards liberation across the Western Hemisphere, lighting the way for each other with spiritual and cultural power. Black people birthed new traditions rooted in the art and religious practices brought from the continent, informed by new environments, and fashioned against the evils of slavery, colonization and systemic racism. Today, in the legacy of that repression, the resistance continues on all fronts. Black artists and writers lead the cultural charge to innovate and hew new freedom, new futures in our imaginations as well as on the streets.

Authors, song writers, vocalists, priestesses and witches, our three panelists will discuss the words, songs and spirits that have come forth in the art and their freedom work. Each a cultural icon of Black feminist creativity in their own right, their ground-breaking conversation will explore histories, personal and collective, survey some of the contents in their current tool kit and offer future visions. In this moderated plenary, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, Michaela Harrison and adrienne maree brown will delve into the spiritual technologies of music and magic that they create to bring protection, healing and justice to the earth, their communities and themselves. Racial Justice Reads founder, Rosana “RC” Cruz will moderate, to proffer questions and support the panelists as they weave their magic.

Moderator(s): Rosana Cruz Speakers: Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, adrienne maree brown, Michaela Harrison

Place, Personal, Political: Blackness on the Map and the Mind

Where we are can fundamentally shape who we are and what we become. For decades, Black writers have examined the complex influence that place has on their identities, particularly around race. From James Baldwin in Paris, to Piri Thomas in Harlem to Jaquira Diaz in Miami, place and movement featured prominently in the personal stories that offer deep political meaning. Whether the influence is one of growing up in criminalized communities in the US, the particular impact of race on migration, or the reality of global anti-Blackness, the stories bear out a deep thread of how the personal is political.

Nadia Owusu, in her forthcoming memoir Aftershocks, “grapples with the fault lines of identity, the meaning of home, black womanhood and the ripple effects, both personal and generational, of emotional trauma.” Marlon Peterson’s Bird Uncaged, to be published in 2021, "exposes the hollowness of the American Dream… and reveals the many cages — physical and metaphorical — created and maintained by American society.” In his 2019 What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker, Damon Young, “pulls readers into his world, showing them his vulnerability, hitting them with unflinching honesty about the state of race relations in this country.” In a live, moderated conversation with Racial Justice Reads founder, Rosana “RC” Cruz, these three authors examine the themes of identity, belonging, family, survival and resilience.

Moderator(s): Rosana Cruz Speakers: Nadia Owusu, Marlon Peterson