We Are Meant to Rise

Voices for Justice from Minneapolis to the World

2021

Carolyn Holbrook and David Mura, Editors

A brilliant and rich gathering of voices on the American experience of this past year and beyond, from Indigenous writers and writers of color from Minnesota

Here Indigenous writers and writers of color bear witness to one of the most unsettling years in U.S. history. Essays and poems vividly reflect the traumas we endured in 2020, beginning with the COVID-19 pandemic, deepened by the blatant murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers and the uprisings that immersed our city into the epicenter of worldwide demands for justice.

In this significant collection, Indigenous writers and writers of color bear witness to one of the most unsettling years in the history of the United States. Essays and poems vividly reflect and comment on the traumas we endured in 2020, beginning with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, deepened by the blatant murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers and the uprisings that immersed our city into the epicenter of passionate, worldwide demands for justice. In inspired and incisive writing these contributors speak unvarnished truths not only to the original and pernicious racism threaded through the American experience but also to the deeply personal, in essays about family, loss, food culture, economic security, and mental health. Their call and response is united here to rise and be heard.

We Are Meant to Rise lifts up the astonishing variety of BIPOC writers in Minnesota. From authors with international reputations to newly emerging voices, it features people from many cultures, including Indigenous Dakota and Anishinaabe, African American, Hmong, Somali, Afghani, Lebanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Puerto Rican, Colombian, Mexican, transracial adoptees, mixed race, and LGBTQ+ perspectives. Most of the contributors have participated in More Than a Single Story, a popular and insightful conversation series in Minneapolis that features Indigenous and people of color speaking on what most concerns their communities.

We Are Meant to Rise meets the events of the day, the year, the centuries before, again and again, with powerful testament to the intrinsic and unique value of the human voice.

Contributors: Suleiman Adan, Mary Moore Easter, Louise Erdrich, Anika Fajardo, Safy-Hallan Farah, Sherrie Fernandez-Williams, Pamela R. Fletcher Bush, Shannon Gibney, Kathryn Haddad, Tish Jones, Ezekiel Joubert III, Douglas Kearney, Ed Bok Lee, Ricardo Levins Morales, Arleta Little, Resmaa Menakem, Tess Montgomery, Ahmad Qais Munhazim, Melissa Olson, Alexs Pate, Bao Phi, Mona Susan Power, Samantha Sencer-Mura, Said Shaiye, Erin Sharkey, Sun Yung Shin, Michael Torres, Diane Wilson, Kao Kalia Yang, and Kevin Yang.

Carolyn Holbrook is the founder and director of More Than a Single Story. She is author of the essay collection Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify (Minnesota, 2020), winner of a Minnesota Book Award, and coauthor of Dr. Josie R. Johnson’s memoir Hope in the Struggle (Minnesota, 2019). She teaches creative writing at Hamline University, the Loft Literary Center, and other community venues.



David Mura’s most recent book is A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity, and Narrative Craft in Writing. He is author of two memoirs, Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei, which won the Oakland PEN Josephine Miles Book Award and was a New York Times Notable Book, and Where the Body Meets Memory.

Contents


Introduction: Call and Response


David Mura


About More Than a Single Story


Carolyn Holbrook


Pandemic Love


Ed Bok Lee


Juice


Alexs Pate


George Floyd Was Killed in My Neighborhood


Safy-Hallan Farah


إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ Queer Death in Exile


Ahmad Qais Munhazim


With Birthday Girl Blindfolded, Star Piñata Considers His Regrets and Offers a Last Request


Michael Torres


Battlegrounds and Building Grounds


Kao Kalia Yang


Summer 1964


Pamela R. Fletcher Bush


The Courage of Holding Together, The Courage to Fall Apart


Mona Susan Power


Long Live the Fatherless Children


Anika Fajardo


Land Acknowledgement Statement of a Native Virginian


Mary Moore Easter


Financial Trauma


Tess Montgomery


Cross Pollination


Kathryn Haddad


Breath: A Meditation in Uprising


Erin Sharkey


Dear Editor


Douglas Kearney


What Does it All Mean


Tish Jones


The Trauma Virus


Resmaa Menakem


How Will They Take Us Away/How Will We Stand


Bao Phi


Healers Are Protectors/Protectors Are Healers


Marcie Rendon


The Pachuco Himself Considers the Audacity of Language


Michael Torres


Little Brown Briefcase


Suleiman Adan


We Are All Summoned


Diane Wilson


A Korean Adoptee Interviews Herself About Ambiguous Loss


신 선 영 辛善英 Sun Yung Shin


Today in Minneapolis


Samantha Sencer-Mura


Let Me Tell You a Story


Melissa Olson


Here Before


Sherrie Fernandez-Williams


Truth, Reconciliation, and Four More Meditations on Human Freedom


Arleta Little


Didion Dreams


Said Shaiye


Speaking Into Existence


Kevin Yang


The Weight


Ezekiel Joubert


Four Genies


Ricardo Levins Morales


All the Stars Aflame


Shannon Gibney


Humility, Sincerity, Banana Oil


Louise Erdrich


Acknowledgments


Contributors


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About E-books

Available in September 2021