Readings/Writing (Module 2)

1 From An Orbit Around the Sun

  • “The Promise”
  • “He Follows”
  • “I Became a Construction Worker”

All three readings from our book are stories that relate to immigration. Each is written from a first person perspective that provides an intimate view of what it means to be an immigrant in the United States.

Write a half page response for each of the readings in your notebook.

2 The next text I want you to engage with is a documentary on gangs in El Salvador. The film provides a context for “The Promise” and “He Follows.” It also is an example of using the power of story to convey a complex message.

When you write about this text, explore what you felt as you watched, what you learned, and what questions you were left with.

3 The next text is a story from the radio show “Only a Game.” When I heard the story, lots of bells and whistles went off in my mind. I definitely thought about the power of movement and mental health. I also felt moved by the story of Sherman and Zeke and how co-regulation doesn’t just happen between humans and humans. Take listen.

Here’s the post with the story in text form. Notice how the audio file changes the experience of the words and notice how narrative is used to convey a powerful message.

Take time to respond in your notebook. Write about what comes to mind. Consider exploring the idea of co-regulation and companion animals. I know my pup, Ozzie is someone who has shaped my life in powerful ways.

4 The next film takes on a different theme. Some of you may have seen it already on Netflix.

Watch and take notes. You may not be able to see it all in one sitting. Take your time. Watch it with someone else so that you can have conversation.

Once again, write about what you sensed in your own body. What did you learn from the film? Is there a connection between the theme of mass incarceration in the United States and the story of immigration you read in the stories and watched in the Vice film? Aim for a half page or full page response.

5 The last text for this module comes from poet Audre Lorde. “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action” is an essay that I find deeply moving and relevant to the work we are doing together.

What connections do you see between Lorde’s essay and any of the other readings? Explore without fear. In your response to this reading, write about your own experience with silence and what you are learning in terms of using your voice.

By Carlos Gonzalez

I am a mindful movement and writing teacher who focuses on helping others discover their voice, passion, and heart. My primary work over the past two decades has been to joyfully invite disruptive spaces within the unlikely environment of institutional education to allow heart, mind,
and soul to emerge for brief periods of time in a dance of learning.

Teaching for me is a performance art that acknowledges that performer and audience are equal participants in the artistic process of meaning making. Currently, besides teaching at Miami Dade College, I’m experimenting with
creating learning possibilities in small neighborhood settings through teaching yoga, life coaching, and leading retreats. I also work with an amazing organization called Exchange for Change. Through them I am able to work with individuals who are incarcerated. As different as each of these settings and groups of people seem to be, I realize we all suffer, we all seek after the same things, and together and with patient kindness we can alleviate our personal and collective suffering.

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