After Honduran-Colombian cartoonist Kat Fajardo created Gringa! – a comic about her personal struggle with cultural identity as a US Latina – she wanted to read more stories by Latinxs. Instead, she learned how much the comics and literary world lacked Latinx voices. Tired of not seeing these experiences represented, she set out to do something about it.
“I was like ya no más,” she told me. “Instead of moping around, I’m going to make my own anthology because we really need it.” So she posted a call for submissions and received an overwhelming amount of responses. After two years of dedicating herself to this project, the anthology – La Raza: Unidos y Fuertes – is a 120-page book featuring illustrations, poetry, short stories, and comics from 42 contributors. Now, the only thing La Raza needs is financial backing to make it a reality.
Fajardo began a KickStarter campaign to raise $13,000. Currently, the project’s about halfway funded, but with five days left, there’s not much time left to meet the goal. And based on her description, the one-of-a-kind work has the unique opportunity to portray parts of our Latinidad that never get enough coverage. La Raza explores themes of racism, self identity, feminism, and assimilation, told from the perspectives of Latinxs from all over. It’s not something commonly seen in mainstream media.
“Our anthology, like many other projects by marginalized creators, are essential if we want accurate representation of us in the media, she said. “Not to mention, there are so many talented creators that go unnoticed due to lack of recognition, it’s seriously heartbreaking. Our work may not be considered ‘mainstream’ to them, but for us it means so much more.”
The #LatinxsCreate hashtag that made the rounds this past weekend shows that our community craves this kind of content. Fajardo, along with many other Latinx creatives across the world, shared their work and their stories. Tristan J. Tarwater created the hashtag so that the Latinx community could celebrate their own work and each other’s. And carving this very necessary space for themselves elicited tweets of joy from artists and non-artists alike.
Fajardo’s received a lot of positive feedback for the book. Last year at an art gallery show in Brooklyn, she promoted the book. And people excitedly showed up to see what the anthology would encompass. As she awaits the book’s future, she’s at least positive that many others long for more Latinx content and why 120 pages dedicated to our stories is necessary.
The La Raza: Unidos y Fuertes campaign is live until Wednesday, September 28 at 3:05 p.m. Donate here.