Season 2 EP#64 Ending Chancla Culture: Decolonizing Oppressive Practices in Our Families with Leslie Priscilla
In this episode of Your Story Medicine, I welcome Leslie Priscilla, a first generation non-Black Chicana mother to three bicultural children. Leslie shares her medicine by offering coaching, workshops, support, and advocacy for Latinx/Chicanx families locally, nationally, and internationally both in-person and online via the Latinx Parenting organization. She founded this bilingual organization and movement intentionally rooted in children's rights, social and racial justice, the individual and collective practice of nonviolence and reparenting, intergenerational and ancestral healing, cultural sustenance, and the active decolonization of oppressive practices in our families.
Main Topics Discussed:
- Defining “Gentle Parenting”
- Embodying Decolonized Nonviolent parenting
- Alternative means to violence intervention with youth
- The role that Latinx parents have in changing chancla culture
- What it means to be raising future ancestors
What are you celebrating about yourself today?
Leslie: I am celebrating just being here with you today. I love being in connection with people like you who have these shared visions for what our people—our communities—can look like, and who are doing it in such creative and heart-centered ways. I just celebrate being alive for this experience. It's just an honor to be here.
How has your ancestral lineage influenced your Latinx parenting today?
Leslie: I'm of Mexican descent: My mother was born in the Northernmost state of Mexico in Chihuahua. My father was born in Colima, which is further south and he's very much a city boy. I identify as Latina. Sometimes I identify as a Mexican. I identify as Mexican-American. There's so much fluidity; but, I'm now also identifying as a detribalized indigenous person. And so it's taken me a lot of time to be able to feel like I actually have the right to claim certain parts of my identity, which was almost erased by colonization. I really refuse to let those parts of my identity go, even if I'm not so intimately connected with it. So, while I was exposing myself to Gentle Parenting by reading all of these books by white people, I was like, “This sounds really great, but I do not see my experience reflected here.” I learned that the practices of Gentle Parenting were actually stolen from us when they replaced that with oppressive parenting practices when they attempted to colonize and heal all that 500 years ago. And so it's another thing that's actually been appropriated, which happens so often, right? This Gentle Parenting actually does not belong just to white folks. And if you understand the history of where it comes from, it comes from our parents wanting to protect us, wanting to keep us safe. And not really knowing how else to do it because this has been passed down for so many generations.
Is violence something that is cultural or is it something that is learned? And if Gentle Parenting was actually stolen from us, then what does it look like to be able to reclaim those practices when a lot of us aren't even taught these skills of how to reparent ourselves?
Leslie: We are all caregivers. We are all caretakers of one another. We all parent each other in one way or another. And we all have an inner child. We are reparenting ourselves constantly. It’s all about being brave and acknowledging that you didn't receive what you needed and you're not afraid of the judgment that comes with that. When you do that, you can begin to have this really beautiful journey where you nurture that part of yourself that was wounded. At the same time, it does not belong to us and we do not belong to it. You have to begin this healing journey knowing, first of all, that you are not alone in it. Secondly, know that in the long run, it is going to be the most beneficial thing for not just you personally, during this life, but for your spirit, for your children, for your descendants, for those future ancestors. So, my intention is to bring healing into the culture.
What is our responsibility in contributing to this systemic change of ending violence when, as parents, we have so much going on? Where do we start?
Leslie: That is the question, right? How do we prevent this from happening? How do we ensure that our children are raised in a way where it would be unimaginable for them to enact this kind of violence? What is our role? I can't define that for anybody. Also, there is that nervous system activation that happens in your brown body, because so many of us have ancestral cultural, intergenerational trauma. Our bodies are going to react differently to news like this than people who don't have similar traumas. Again, the first thing to do is take care of you. Make sure that you are feeling safe in your body because feeling unsafe in those ways is not going to be supportive or productive, nor would they allow us to really take those steps forward. So for me in the parenting space, we need to ask: “What is the root of this particular incident and why is it so shared?” So these are conversations on patriarchy, on toxic masculinity, on glorifying violence, and on mistaken ideas of power. There's all kinds of layers here. And so I think, as parents, we have to really get real about those things. It's really uncomfortable to talk to our children about these things. It's really uncomfortable to call out your son or your partner, if they're male, when they're being misogynistic; but, these are the things that we have to do if we're going to prevent those things from happening in the future. Ultimately, I need to do what I can do to ensure that my kids are feeling held, that they're feeling like they belong, that they're feeling like they're a part of their community, that they're feeling in connection and in togetherness with others, as much as I can support that. We need spaces where we can just be, and we are not going to be judged and we are committing to not judge other people.
How is Latinx parenting helping to shift that violent culture?
Leslie: So many ways. I intend on being this movement where parents can feel a lot of safety by doing things differently than the way that they were raised. We need to center ourselves as children and tell ourselves that we never deserved violence. We never deserved disconnection. We never deserved all these things that brought us pain and struggle and suffering. There's so much grief in that, and I feel like that's been a part of the work too. I want to be that bridge for families to let them know that they're not alone.
How have you witnessed intergenerational healing play out in your family as you have been embodying this work?
Leslie: I can never be truly nonviolent. I can only ever strive to be nonviolent. My mom actually decided not to do some of the things that her parents did, even though there's still a lot of work to be done when it comes to our relationship. I'm at the point now where I can really appreciate that she was a cycle breaker as well: She also decided that she wanted something better for her children. She often shares heavy things with me, and now I have to have really clear energetic boundaries because I feel responsible for her as an elder. I do enter into states where I'm just so honored to be her daughter—and then sometimes it gets really hard. The mother's wound is real, and I’m still addressing it. I don't expect that I'm going to heal my entire lineage in this lifetime. It's just impossible. There's been 500 years of colonization and I'm going to be here for maybe like 80, 90, a hundred years, if I'm lucky. So, I don't want us to set the expectation for ourselves that we have this burden on our shoulders of healing all of the ancestral and intergenerational trauma. We are just here to do what we can to break some of those cycles of violence and pain.
What have your children taught you about becoming a better person and parent? What does it mean for you to be raising future ancestors?
Leslie: Oh, my gosh, it's everything. There's so many ways that I can answer that. I always talk about my teachers, coaches, and others that I’ve learned from, including my ancestors. Yet, my children are actually my greatest teachers. They are the ones that humble the shit out of me every single day. I know nothing except for what these children teach me. It’s so challenging to be in alignment, not having had a blueprint for what it looks like to be in constant connection with children. It’s so complex. I learn the most when I'm allowing myself and my inner child to play with that, and to just be in present space with them. It's hard, but when I enter that space, I feel like I’m at church. I want them to know how powerful they are. And I think that they teach me how powerful I am—that I have capacity for creativity and making those things happen. They also remind me of my sacredness and my innocence. They remind me of the fact that I am still this little girl and that I'm honoring her, always. That is how my children are my greatest teachers, because I am them.
While you are still here in this body—in this lifetime—what are some of the things that you are doing to continuously reparent yourself? Also, what are the things that you've had to learn to release?
Leslie: I’m releasing a lot of guilt. I'm shedding the guilt around not being who or what I think I should be at any given moment because my standards are really high. I use Oracle Cards; I spend time in nature. I also write to myself from the perspective of my grandmother and I genuinely feel like she is writing through me to me: The things that I need to hear are coming from this ancestral guidance, and that's also a part of the reparenting journey that I think often gets neglected, especially in white wellness spaces. You also have to have this very concrete way to move towards that vision of yourself.
If you could envision yourself as a future ancestor, what would they say to you today?
Leslie: Be patient with the process. Don’t rush things.
Conclusion: The grand vision of Decolonized Nonviolent parenting in the Latinx community may not be met in our lifetime. As we become more conscious parents, we must go about our work keeping in mind that we’re leaving a legacy, and we need to remember that our actions inspire those of the next generation. Latinx parenting belongs to the people—to future ancestors.
Action Integration: Find community around your intentions and visions. The grand vision of Latinx parenting requires us to release intergenerational trauma, and one of the best ways to facilitate this is by surrounding ourselves with those going along this same journey.
Learn more about Latinx Parenting:
Visit their website: www.latinxparenting.org
Follow them on Instagram: www.instagram.com/latinxparenting
Download my free guided meditation on how to connect with your ancestors bit.ly/ancestorinthemaking
Apply to Roots to Rise: