The Power in Lorraine Avila's words
Lorainne Avila, a first-generation Dominican American educator, debuts a YA Novel, 'The Making of Yolanda La Bruja,' that honors Afro/Black Caribbean religions.
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The Making of Yolanda La Bruja is Lorraine Avila's debut contemporary YA novel honoring Afro-Latino heritage and Black lineage. The story of sixteen-year-old Yolanda Nuelis Alvarez, a proud Black Dominican American girl, a young bruja in training, raised in the Bronx with a clear sense of community and activism. Following Mamá Teté’s spiritual guidance, Yolanda's spiritual journey and initiation approach as she begins to have conflicting visions with Ben, a white boy who transferred to Julia De Burgos High and has a history of racist behavior. Yolanda struggles to trust her intuition and often gives him the benefit of the doubt as she attempts to stop him from being a threat to others.
Avila honors Afro/Black Caribbean spiritual connections of la Dominicanidad kept behind closed doors, a lack of identity awareness that praises whiteness over Blackness, which further disrupts Dominicans from associating words like “Negra” and “Morena” with some failing to acknowledge that Negra or Negro was the given name to Black slaves and Moreno or Morena to free slave.
“It’s like Dominicans are scared of language that will commit us to our Blackness,” the book says, further discussing Latino anti-black bias driven by cultural misunderstanding propagated by pre-existing racism embedded in Dominican Society that has become normalized, even to Dominican Americans.
The novel explores gun violence, race, justice, education, and spirituality, which holds this book like a canopy, enclosing and exposing layers of Blackness and the growth and sense of belonging community can provide.
Avila’s book will be available April 11, 2023. For more information, click here.
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