In the early part of 2002, Carlo Munoz and I shared a very special relationship. Every weekday evening at 5 PM, we’d meet at a small bakeshop called Valerio’s on the corner of Azusa and Amar in the city of West Covina, California. You see, at 5 PM, the bakeshop took their final batch of pan de sal out of the ovens, so the bread rolls were still hot, fluffy, fresh, and aromatic whenever I stepped into the shop. In other words, it was the perfect time to purchase a bag of pan de sal. Carlo also arrived in the bakeshop at exactly 5 o’clock on the dot. I have to admit, he was as big a motivator as the bread in what brought me to the bakeshop most evenings of the week— maybe a bigger motivator, if I’m being honest. Clean cut, handsome, and with the perfect balance of office attire and wire-rimmed glasses to suggest an attractive amount of nerdiness, he was a joy to look at. I’d bat my lashes at him in expectation, and I think I half-expected him to reach out to me from the television set in the corner of the bakeshop. Because in the year that followed the 9-11 attacks in The United States amidst much of the largely unquestioned rhetoric of “necessary military response,” the comfort of a bread line and a standing appointment with an actor on a Filipino soap opera became my part of my coping strategy at the age of nineteen at a time of military nationalism and fever-pitch Islamophobia.
This anecdote may not be the self-introductory letter that the readership of The East Jasmine Review expects from the publication’s new Editor-in-Chief. What does the self-care pattern of a college student from fifteen years ago have to do with the transitional leadership of a literary journal today? For one, I think that the state of global politics in the current moment is a loud reverberation of the days following 9-11. So much so that the tears I shed on the night of The United States’ 2016 General Election had the same stinging pain to them as the tears I shed days after the twin towers fell in New York. It was a stinging pain wrapped up in the same questions I asked the universe across the fifteen-year chasm of time: What kind of racial violence will this precipitate, and what forms of violence will this new rise of American Nationalism allow people to get away with? (Note: Here I speak of America because by circumstance of birth, I am an American citizen.)
I have tried, in the 5 months since I’ve assumed the role of this publication’s Editor-in-Chief, to write a letter to the readership— to tell you who I am, to share with you how I plan to implement the magazine’s mission to uplift and center voices largely ignored or silenced by the wider publishing world. I was excited to announce that we— the new editors and I— were here to help center the voices of the marginalized. Women of Color. LGBT Writers. New voices. More voices. And then days after he assumed his new job, Donald Trump implemented a Muslim Ban. Showing up at airports in support of the people unlawfully detained and participating in direct action political organizing became the priority, because for all my talk about centering marginalized voices, how could I help center voices but stand to the side while those same voices are systematically smothered?
Systematic racial violence is, of course, not new and certainly didn’t recently arrive in The United States or onto the global stage in 2016 or 2002. But this letter to you isn’t meant to be a history lesson. I mention the long history of global oppression, though, because I think it’s important that you, the readership know who I am and what concerns me as editor and curator of this magazine. While, thus far, I have indicated to you some the things that motivate and inspire my curatorial eye, perhaps it is time that I, in the grand literary tradition of declaring oneself, tell you who I am.
My name is Cherisse Yanit Nadal, and you can find my bona fides here. I am a writer, political organizer, musician, and sometimes-scholar. I am an anti-imperialist, transnational feminist. I am for ending the world-wide genocide and oppression against all women-identified persons. I am for ending the state-sanctioned violence and genocide against black bodies in The United States and the world. I am against gendered violence. I am against racism. I am against transphobia. I am against homophobia. I am against all forms of systemic, state-sanctioned oppression. I am against the rise of global fascism. And I write to you, readers and writers alike, with the hope that as we move forward as The East Jasmine Review community the writing that we feature here will include an intersectional, transnational, and progressive view of the world and literary landscape.
Also joining me as we move forward are our veteran editors, V.E. Duncan in Poetry, and Stephanie Barbé Hammer in Creative Nonfiction. We welcome new editors, Eric Nguyen and Julianne Carew in Fiction, as well as Rozlind Silva in Poetry. You can find out more about them by clicking on their names on the masthead here. We are also fortunate this year in that a Southern California literary non-profit organization has agreed to be our non-profit fiscal sponsor. Thanks to The San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival, we will now be able to accept donations. Check back with our website in the future for more details.
If you are a writer who is interested in writing for us, we are always accepting rolling submissions, but if you would like your work to be considered for our first issue of the year which will be published in late July 2017, please send in your submission no later than June 20, 2017.
Cherisse Yanit Nadal
East Jasmine Review