Xeres Villanueva graduated from Azusa Pacific University with degrees in English and Communication Studies. She has deep roots in community building and activism. She is involved in community building projects and Christian social justice groups. She has been in the worlds of freelancing, small business and non-profits. Her interests are media and pop culture, cultural activism, liberation movements, economic empowerment and food.
Before the wake began, my cousins and I watched as my mother, her older sister, and her younger brother prayed together as a family. Suddenly, my mom started to pray eloquently in our regional dialect. Something was happening; my mother didn’t generally pray publicly or spontaneously.
I SAT FROZEN in my seat, inwardly screaming at myself to do or say something. I looked down at my lap, where the man sitting next to me had placed his hand. Fear raced through my mind, contributing to the panic that pulsed through me.