Raina J. León, PhD is a Black and Afro-Boricua Philadelphian (living for many years in the Chochenyo Ohlone territory of Berkeley). She is a mother, daughter, sister, madrina, comadre, partner, poet, writer, and teacher educator. She believes in collective action and community work, the profound power of holding space for the telling of our stories, and the liberatory practice of humanizing education. She seeks out communities of care and craft and is a member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Macondo. Her first collection of poetry, Canticle of Idols, was a finalist for both the Cave Canem First Book Poetry Prize (2005) and the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize (2006). Her second book, Boogeyman Dawn (2013, Salmon Poetry), was a finalist for the Naomi Long Madgett Prize (2010). Salmon Poetry also published sombra : (dis)locate. Her first chapbook, profeta without refuge was a finalist for the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Firecracker award. Her second chabbook, Areyto to Atabey: Essays on the Mother(ing) Self, was published by Alley Cat Books (2019). Her poetry, nonfiction, fiction, and scholarly work has been published in well over 100 journals and anthologies. She has received fellowships and residencies with the Obsidian Foundation, Community of Writers, Montana Artists Refuge, Macdowell, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Annamaghkerrig, Ireland and Ragdale, among others. She is a member of the SF Writers Grotto and The Ruby in San Francisco. She also is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latinx arts. She educates our present and future agitators/educators as a full professor of education at Saint Mary’s College of California, only the third Black person (all Black women) and the first Afro-Latina to achieve that rank there, and as a creative arts practitioner and co-learner, holding space in various communities.
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