Sandra Cisneros Zoom Call Uplifts Westridge Community


Samantha Chaffin

Sandra Cisneros calling in from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

On January 6th, award-winning author and poet, Sandra Cisneros, graced the Westridge community from her home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico with a heartwarming and timely reminder of the importance of human connection, compassion, and the power of uplifting one another.

Cisneros sat down for a Q and A session led by English Department Head Dr. Jessica Bremmer, with over 300 attendees. She opened by talking about her upbringing, her first explorations of her creativity, and her implementation of activism in her writing. She explained that her writing, like in her novel, The House on Mango Street, does not have a political direction, but rather, her activism is grounded in simply telling the stories of her students. “True activism,” she remarked, “comes from a place of love. Whatever we create with love on behalf of those we love with no personal agenda — siempre sale bonita — it always turns out well.” 

Sandra Cisneros speaks to the Westridge community. (Sophia H. ‘21)

“We need stories that give us hope and uplift us; things that transform our anger into light.” ”

— Sandra Cisneros

Westridge students and faculty connected deeply with this sentiment along with Cisneros’s remarks on her struggles with mental health and writing. 

“I really loved what she said about figuring out your own darkness and using that experience to help people with that same struggle. This is something that I hope to apply to my own life,” remarked Mim H. ‘22. 

Phoebe J. ‘21 identified with Cisneros’s talk in a similar way. “She spoke about her mental health in a way which both acknowledged the darkness that many of us encounter and maintained a hopeful attitude toward recovery and the future. This was weirdly inspirational for me, hearing that such a seemingly put-together icon could have doubted herself and struggled with mental health just as much as the next person.” 

Cisneros’s background also resonated with those in the Westridge community who share her cultural roots. “Having not seen many prominent Latina authors introduced in American schools, her writing serves as an inspiration for my family and me. Attending her talk was an opportunity for me to hear someone who effortlessly pushes the narrative in predominantly white spaces and brings representation and pride to the Latino community. We could not have been more excited to see her” said Maya L. ‘23. 

Maribella M. ‘21 explained, “I decided to attend the talk because Sandra Cisneros is one of, in my opinion, the best Latin writers that I have read, and I know that for my mom, she really helped her develop a sort of independence and make my mom feel her Latina voice was being projected in Cisneros’s literature.” 

Cisneros’s comments were particularly resonant in the wake of the riot on the Capitol building earlier that day, Jan. 6. As the events left many shaken, Dr. Bremmer reflected on the timing of her visit, remarking upon the sentiment she left for the Westridge community. “So many people showed up on what was a hard night for everybody, a hard day for everybody. I was so happy to see our school community show up that way. I think that conversation was a really good reminder to recognize the beauty in the things around us that we don’t always pay attention to — to be open to inspiration in ways we might not always think about and to trust your creative spirit, and that good things will come from that.”