Healing sexual trauma in the borderlands
meet our artists
Performer, Singer, Artist and Writer
Alice Aida Ayers, talented performer, singer, artist and writer, knows how to tell a story that will change how you think about your own life. Black, female, born in semi-rural poverty in the1950s, in a culture blatant in its racism and sexism, the world was eager to convince her that she was destined to be used, abused, and discarded.
Queer Chicanx Poet and Translater
Lee Martínez Soto is a published queer Chicanx poet and translator. Lee holds a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, which now they use as paperweight and to inform the focus of their writing. Their work centers on the stigma of mental health: life with comorbid mental health diagnoses, finding accessible resources and competent specialists, and healing. Lee has been published as a co-author in pretentious research papers that only others in academia care about; you can find their research contributions in Revista Ehquidad (2016) and Nova Science Publishers (2019) on topics of migration, resiliency, and homelessness. On their creative endeavors, the author self-published their first poetry anthology, Para los Locos in 2020. Additional publications include Nuestras Voces with Massachusetts’s College of Liberal Arts (2014), Chismosas Press vol. 3 (2020), Living Zine vol. 2 (2020), Chrysalis Literary Journal (2021), and Life in the Time (2021). They have been featured in various literary events and podcasts, the most recent with the Barbed Wire Open Mic on October 2021. You can follow them on Instagram @cadaveres_literarios or Facebook as Lee Martínez Soto.
Actor, Host, Filmmaker
A powerhouse of dynamic energy and spirited repartee, actor, host, and filmmaker Yuval David is frequently invited to host events, of all sizes, live and broadcast, as a venerated master of ceremonies. Yuval is as comfortable emceeing intimate gatherings as he is in front of hundreds, or even tens of thousands of people in a live audience setting, as he recently did for Israel’s 70th Anniversary Celebration in New York’s Times Square on behalf of the Israeli Consulate of New York, dazzling the audience of 30,000 event-goers and millions across the world viewing the televised broadcast.
He speaks at, hosts, presents, and emcees events for a myriad of organizations, especially those focusing on humanitarian, philanthropic, social impact, environmental, and entertainment initiatives, and alongside organizations catering to American, Israeli, Jewish, LGBTQ, and creative communities, including The National LGBTQ Task Force, The Aguda, Jewish National Fund, WZO, Stonewall, American Israel Cultural Foundation, The Jewish Plays Project, Washington Performing Arts, A Wider Bridge, The Israeli Consulate and Israeli Embassy, and other arts and humanitarian organizations.
As a keynote speaker, Yuval entertains, uplifts, and inspires audiences and communities toward the greater good of the initiatives and worldwide society he represents.
In addition to his work as speaker, host, and MC of live events, Yuval hosts and produces short- and long-form narrative and documentary content, as evergreen productions to assist the initiatives of organizations and expand their reach.
He incorporates his great skill at storytelling, sharing a narrative, connecting to and entertaining audiences, coming from his acclaimed career as an actor, TV host, and filmmaker.
LVN, artist, drum circle facilitator
Neorah has called El Paso her home for thirty-six years. She is an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse), a local artist who has had her artwork displayed in several local exhibits, and is an active board member of the El Paso Art Association. She is a drum circle facilitator and leads Tof Miryam Hebrew Chant & Healing Drum Circle, and Drumming With The Elders (drum circles in assisted living centers). She also facilitates Healing With The Arts workshops/classes.
The Emotional Mastery Coach
an Emotional Mastery Coach, Holistic Practitioner, and an Acharya from the Mahajrya Buddhist tradition. For the last ten years, I have made meditation, mindfulness, and spirituality the foundation of how I live my life, and now how I run my business. In 2014 I graduated with a degree in Holistic Health with a focus on Mind/Body Transformational Psychology. Since then I have dedicated my life to working with hundreds of clients witnessing astonishing transformations. Through time I have discovered that my passion is to teach women to self-heal and master their emotions. I believe that Emotional Mastery is the key to create and manifest the life we desire. Most importantly, I am a woman, a mother, and a human being, gracefully figuring out this thing called life.
Gris Muñoz is a writer and cultural worker who has been providing Limpias and curative ritual in the El Paso community and southwest for over a decade. She has completed four years of Danza Xochimeztli in Hidalgo, Mexico. Gris specifically works with the spirit/ancestral connection. She is Xicana of Apache descent.
Indigenous community organizer and healer
Amanda Tello (she/her) recently completed her Master of Divinity at Eden Theological Seminary near Saint Louis, Missouri. She is Esselen/Rumsen; community organizer; and raising free children as a conscious and intentional parent, while being called to heal by the very same children. Amanda's work emphasizes healing from colonial genocide and deepening our relationship to self and Creator through our relationship to land.
Poet and survivor of childhood sexual abuse
While healing my own trauma I felt guided by my Ancestors to nurture a relationship with plant allies. At a young age my great Grandmother had planted the seed to turn to them when in need of comfort. They became part of my daily rituals and self care. Herbs held and supported me in ways that helped me embrace my sensitivity to subtle energies. They taught me to appreciate that sensitivity and see it as a gift rather than something that requires medication. I’d been diagnosed and heavily medicated from a young age. While medication is necessary for some my intuition knew that I didn’t need pharmaceutical drugs. I needed to heal years of trauma and to grow into my gifts. As I grew closer and closer to herbs they taught me to embrace my gifts and how to navigate them.
That experience and strengthening my relationship to multiple herbs has prepared me to be a bridge for others to plant allies, to connect others to the herbs that can best support them. I openly share what I’ve learned from herbs specifically with marginalized people of color and hold space for them.
I’ve taken herbal support to: Migrant shelters in El Paso and Juarez, safe spaces in Juarez for Trans women and activists, homeless shelters and the Chamizal Barrio.
I often hold space for community organizers, activists, artists, those struggling with substance abuse and anyone in need of herbal support.
Being part of a web of care has allowed me to offer herbal support to those who can’t afford it, thanks to those who donate money and herbs.
Jackie Barragan began her healing journey at a young age through the ancestral wisdom passed down from her grandmother and mother through the use of herbs, massage and prayer. She has been an active member and practitioner of ancestral healing and indigenous modalities on the border for 18 years.
Artist, poet, actress and healing performer
Additionally, she has studied Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Yoga, and Buddhist Meditation. She received her certification in Zen Shiatsu Massage and Asian Bodywork Therapy at the San Francisco School of Massage. She also holds a certification in Thai Yoga Massage where she studied in Laos. During her time in Southeast Asia, Jackie studied Vipassana Meditation at the Wat Pa Tam Wua Forrest Monastery in Thailand. Later, she received a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology focusing on Indigenous Cultures of the Americas and Grassroots Organizing. Jackie has continued to dedicate much of her life to learning about her Native American and Mexican/Indigenous roots and continues to be of service by facilitating and participating in healing through indigenous ceremony.
Max Bellman-Seeskin has been a Board-Certified Music Therapist since 2007, with a B.A. in Music Therapy from California State University, Northridge. Currently Max is a Master's level intern studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Antioch University, working towards becoming a licensed counselor to serve the LGBTQIA* community. In addition to providing individual therapy, Max also facilitates the Youth Transgender Support Group and the Adult Transgender Support Group at the Borderland Rainbow Center of El Paso.
Jesús I. Valles, a queer Mexican immigrant writer-performer from Cd. Juarez, México/El Paso, TX. Valles is a 2019 Lambda Literary fellow, a 2019 Walter E. Dakin Playwriting fellow at the Sewanee Writers' Conference, a recipient of the 2019 Letras Latinas Scholarship from Community of Writers, a poetry fellow at Idyllwild Arts Writers Week, and a recipient of a 2019 Fine Arts Work Center scholarship. Valles is also a 2018 Undocupoets fellow, a 2018 Tin House scholar, and a fellow of the 2018 Poetry Incubator. Their work is published in The Shade Journal, The Texas Review, The New Republic, Palabritas, The Acentos Review, Quarterly West, The Mississippi Review, Tin House, BOAAT, and forthcoming in Winter Tangerine and The Adroit Journal. As a theatremaker, Jesús is the recipient of four B. Iden Payne awards, including Outstanding Original Script and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama for their autobiographical solo show, (Un)Documents.
Donna Snyder founded the Tumblewords Project in 1995 and continues to organize its free weekly workshops and other literary events in the borderlands around El Paso, Texas.
Snyder formerly worked as an attorney representing indigenous people, people with disabilities, and immigrant workers, and also prosecuted misdemeanor environmental crimes and fraud, beginning her practice of law in Dinétah, formerly known as Navajo Indian Country. In her 30s, Snyder began writing both prose and poetry and developing a reputation throughout New Mexico as a writer and performer of spoken word.