Help a bruja out!

Illustration of the bruja in raccoon form by her baby sister, artist Janelle Urena-Ravelo

Hey, it’s yo girl Briana! For those of you who don’t know me too well, I’m a radical first generation Dominican organizer, writer and activist based out of West Michigan. I’ve been organizing and writing for as long as I can remember because resistance is in my blood, but on a more vocal and visible capacity for over 10 years. I’m by no means perfect but I’ve done a lot, I’ve helped impact change and make the world a more radically beautiful and healthier place, I’ve been to a lot of places because of my work, and for that I feel truly blessed.

For a living, I currently work two part time jobs, one as a dishwasher/fledgling prep cook at a local restaurant and another doing childcare for ESL classes through a local literacy center, the latter of which actually soon to be ending in just two weeks as the classes will be over for the school year. The pay isn’t the absolute best, nor is dish-washing exactly the healthiest occupation for my hands (I have sensitive skin and severe eczema with outbreaks triggered and aggravated by stress and weather changes and whatever else it chooses on any given day), but it helps me get by. I actually really like my workplaces( especially taking care of a bunch of young Central American kids with similar experiences being first gen or immigrant Latinxs of color in America), I’m treated very well and have pretty good flexibility with my life considering I work two part time jobs with somewhat odd hours. That said, it isn’t where I want to end up. In the meantime, I’ve been doing the application/interview hustle over the past few months and fine-tuning what it is I want to do with my life at least for the next few years.

I left my job at a local community journalism platform late last year for largely personal reasons, because the political and social climate of the city I’m from has been much too toxic and abusive for me to see myself continuing to work on such a public scale while getting constant flack and only so much support. To be sure, I have amazing, caring and supportive friends, but it frankly doesn’t counteract the toxicity, nor is it meant to. The issue is I don’t live in a community or among many people that values justice, frank conversations and confrontation, transparency, accountability, or Black women artists, creatives, activists and organizers. Everyone’s just trying to get ahead, protect power, save face, tokenize language of revolution and water it down enough to make a profit, and keep their DeVos money safe.

But I digress.

Because of this and wanting to make sense of exactly where I wanna go, what I wanna do, and what I want to say, as far as activism and writing goes, I’ve been taking a bit of a break. I’m still (still) in a place of transition. Trying to heal and navigate a lot of the nastiness from years of activism and organizing in this city (just this past year alone I survived an organizational coup and being framed for stealing! It’s a long story.), trying to find a proper platform or way to get my writing out there that doesn’t get me banned, trying to figure out where I’m going from here-geographically, emotionally, politically, socially, etc.

That said, even if slowly and in small ways, I’ve still been active in community and getting my writing out there because I know no other way to be. I’ve been to an organizing meeting with our local Cosecha group and their rallies, getting published here and there, most recently in the “La Yerbera” issue of “La Liga” zine, and as of yesterday being invited to the Hudson-Townsend Publishing Institute at Calvin College on scholarship because I’m Spanish-speaking. With the institute I’m so excited about this opportunity to learn more about writing, editing and getting published (and potentially network if I can get the guts), but it also means taking off days from work, which will greatly affect my paycheck, which by the time I get it will be from the only job I have over the summer.

A print I made at Melanie Cervantes’ printmaking workshop through MSU’s American Indian and Indigenous Studies program

That’s where you come in! Most of my writing and organizing I do for free or for very little pay. Of course I don’t do it for money but because I wanna get us all free, but at the same time, until white colonialist capitalism and patriarchy is smashed, bills need to get paid and I do deserve compensation and love for the work I put in. I also have to pay for things like a bus pass to travel to work and interviews when I get them, especially if they are farther away (more recent interviews being in places like Chicago and East Lansing).

So, If you appreciate my writing or organizing work and wanna help me get around and get by, please consider donating to my Paypal or Square Cash!

You be supporting me as I try to find more stable work and travel to interviews, go to cool events like the ones held by MSU’s American Indian and Indigenous studies program (for which I’ve made a few trips to over this past winter and spring) or the Hudson-Townsend Publishing Institute, and other cool and fu things. Support in the past has helped me pay surprise bills, buy bus passes, fix or replace my phone, or bought my dinner. It means a lot and helps
me in so many ways! In the future I’m hoping to be in a more stable and larger place where I can more regularly create content and engage community and be able to create a Patreon to more officially support my work. Until then, any bit helps! Mybirthday is in June, so you can also think of it as a bit of an early birthday present.

Square Cash: cash.me/$brujitamalita
Paypal: Paypal.me/puramala

Square Cash: cash.me/$brujitamalita
Paypal: Paypal.me/puramala

Square Cash: cash.me/$brujitamalita
Paypal: Paypal.me/puramala

Thank you so so much!

Writer. Community organizer. Errant punk. Ne’er do well. Afro-Dominicana. High Hex Femme. Email: Dominicanamalisima@gmail.com

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Briana L. Urena-Ravelo

Briana L. Urena-Ravelo

Writer. Community organizer. Errant punk. Ne’er do well. Afro-Dominicana. High Hex Femme. Email: Dominicanamalisima@gmail.com

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