12:00 - 1:15
Celebrate the release of Mi María: Surviving the Storm, the latest addition to the Voice of Witness book series, with a roundtable conversation about the aftermath of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico.
On September 20, 2017, Hurricane María pummeled Puerto Rico for over thirty hours. As brutal as the storm was, the real catastrophe was yet to come. Lack of government support left many in the archipelago without housing, electricity, clean drinking water, food, and medical care for months. Years later, Puerto Rico is still recovering.
Mi María: Surviving the Storm brings together seventeen stories of perseverance and community that ask what it means to be a US citizen in a colonial context, how communities come together in the wake of disaster, and how precarity is exacerbated for those on the frontlines of the climate crisis.
In this roundtable conversation, Mi María co-editor Marci Denesiuk and narrator Vivienne Miranda Rodríguez will be joined by Eli Jacobs–Fantauzzi, the director of the documentary We Still Here (2021), which follows a group of young activists organizing and rebuilding with their community in Comerío, Puerto Rico after Hurricane María. Join them for a discussion on storytelling, reclaiming narratives, and community response in the aftermath of disaster, and learn how you can rise in solidarity with communities in Puerto Rico today.
This event is cosponsored by Voice of Witness (VOW), a San Francisco-based nonprofit that advances human rights by amplifying the voices of people impacted by—and fighting against—injustice. The VOW Book Series depicts human rights issues through the edited oral histories of people—VOW narrators—who are most deeply impacted and at the heart of solutions to address injustice. The series explores issues of race-, gender-, and class-based inequity through the lenses of migration, displacement, and the criminal justice system. The VOW Education Program connects over 20,000 educators, students, and advocates each year with these stories and issues through oral history-based curricula, trainings, and holistic educational support.
Mi María can be purchased online through Haymarket Books.
Learn more about We Still Here and the community activists featured in the film.
Vivienne Miranda Rodríguez is the founder of Centro La Paz, an integrative wellness center in Rincon, Puerto Rico. She is a mother to two sons, a massage therapist, birth doula, yoga and Pilates teacher, and community organizer. She also partners on running an agroforestry conservation farm, Finca Hekiti, in Las Marias with her husband Ricardo Albarracin Morales. After Hurricane María, Vivienne organized donations, supplies, and mutual aid efforts in her communities.
Marci Denesiuk is a writer with a background in journalism and creative writing. She is the co-editor of the Voice of Witness book Mi María: Surviving the Storm, Voices from Puerto Rico), and a narrative in Unheard Voices of the Pandemic, also produced by Voice of Witness. Her award-winning fiction includes a book of short stories, The Faraway Home, which has been published in French. In addition, her work has appeared in anthologies, academic journals, magazines, and special projects. She teaches in the Department of English at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and lives with her husband and son in Añasco, Puerto Rico.
Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi is an internationally-recognized and award-winning filmmaker. He is the founder of FistUp.TV, a media platform uplifting and telling stories from underrepresented communities across the world. His work has circulated through National Broadcast: Free Speech TV, Teaching Channel, and PBS. He has created content for Remezcla, OkayAfrica, TIDAL, and VIBE. Eli is the co-founder of Defend Puerto Rico, a multimedia project designed to document and celebrate Puerto Rican creativity, resilience, and resistance. His dedication to his craft is deeply connected to his commitment to social justice and the belief in the transformative power of film. Eli is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and holds an MA degree from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.