In 2019, the first year of Untold Stories’ workshops, Toni Morrison joined the ancestors, leaving our world with her legacy of extraordinary writing and cultural strategy in service of Black liberation and love for the future of all. We, the women of Untold Stories, feel the spirit of Toni Morrison present in everything we do, as well as the responsibility she named for us:
This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
There is nothing more urgent than our collective creativity, nothing more powerful than our imagination, nothing more joyful than our community, and nothing more unstoppable than our dreams.
WIth liberation and love,
Untold Stories of Liberation & Love
Catalina, Desiraé, Julie, Maria, & Tanya
Poetry is the practice of seeing, naming, and valuing what oppression and violence have taught us to ignore -- our tingles of intuition,our dreams, magic, grief, and joy; our journeys of healing, sovereignty, and transformation; our truth, vision, and power.
Who We Are
Untold Stories of Liberation & Love emerged in 2018 when five local women of color activists -- Catalina Rios, Desiraé Simmons, Julie Quiroz, Maria Ibarra-Frayre, and Tanya Reza -- came together over meals and walks, to share our yearning for soul-nourishing and liberatory community building. In this way we discovered our shared hunger to deepen our individual and collective strength through poetry and creative writing that liberates our imagination to generate locally rooted transformative change. We formed Untold Stories to amplify and generate local women of color’s creative courage to envision our communities fully nourished by cooperative community-governed solutions grounded in abundance.
What We Do
Untold Stories reflects our commitment to creativity that reveals the hidden stories of women of color discovering our power in a world designed to break us. Untold Stories seeks to celebrate the tiniest moments that shift our lives forever, the giant moments of collective power, the invisible stories that happen right before our eyes, the secret history of courage that will guide us into the future.Through a series of community workshops, Untold Stories invited local women of color to reach back to our ancestors for radical wisdom, to shift the shape of reality in the present moment, and to embody our vision of the future right now. We grounded each workshop in the extraordinary legacy of women of color poets, with the words of Audre Lorde, Joy Harjo, Gloria Anzaldúa, Wang Ping, Lucille Clifton, Nayyirah Waheed, Marilyn Chin, Ada Limón, Claudine Rankine, Aja Monet, Warsan Shire, Patricia Smith, and so many others gracing the walls around us and serving as prompts for our own writing.