This dissertation shares findings from a qualitative case study of Latina adolescent girls (ninth and 10th graders) and their mothers and fathers participating in Somos Escritores/We Are Writers. Somos Escritores was a five-week bilingual writing workshop for Latina adolescent girls and their mothers and fathers that invited them to write, draw, and share stories from their lived realities on a variety of topics relevant to their lives. The stories, voices, experiences, and ways of knowing of the Latina adolescent girls, mothers, and fathers who allowed me a window into their lives are at the center of this study.
This study explored the ways a safe space was coconstructed for the sharing of stories and voices and what was learned from families through their writing about who they are, what matters to them, and what they envision for their futures. To understand Somos Escritores, and the Latina adolescent girls, mothers, and fathers who participated in this space and the stories that are shared, I weave together multiple perspectives. These perspectives include Chicana feminist epistemology (Delgado Bernal, 1998), third space (Gutiérrez, 2008), Nepantla (Anzaldúa, 1997) and sociocultural theories of writing (Goncu & Gauvain, 2012; Prior, 2006). Data were drawn from the following sources: (a) postworkshop survey, (b) audio recording and transcription of workshops, (c) interviews, (d) workshop artifacts, and (e) field notes. They were analyzed using narrative methods. I found that Latina adolescent girls and their mothers and fathers are “Fighting to be Heard,” through the naming and claiming of their realities, creating positive self-definitions, writing and sharing silenced stories, the stories of socially conscious girls and of parents raising chicas fuertes [strong girls]. In addition, Somos Escritores families and facilitators coconstructed a third space through intentional practices and activities. This study has several implications for teachers and teacher educators. Specifically, I suggest creating safe space in literacy classroom for authentic sharing of stories, building a curriculum that is relevant to the lived realities of youth and that allows them to explore social injustices and inequities, and building relationships with families in the coconstruction of family involvement opportunities.