About Us

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Dr. Norma Thomas

Co-Founder

Dr. Thomas has been a dedicated social worker and leader in the field of gerontology for over 40 years with over 20 years of that experience also being complemented by her work in academia as a director of social work programs and mentor for graduate students, academics of color, and BIPOC social workers rising into leadership positions.  Dr. Thomas most recently served as the MSW Program Director at California University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2007 and retired in January 2017. She was promoted to full professor in 2014. From 1994-2004 she worked for the Widener University Center for Social Work Education where she achieved tenure as an Associate Professor, also holding positions as Assistant Director and Baccalaureate Program Director.  She worked from 1975-1984 for the Delaware County Office on Services for the Aging and from 1984-1992 for the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. In addition, she was the co-founder and President of the Center on Ethnic & Minority Aging, Inc., Philadelphia, PA from 1995-2008. She is currently an online instructor for the Center For Social Work Education, Widener University. She is the recipient of many community service awards including most recently: 2016 Dr. Caryl Sheffield Award for Excellence, California University of Pa. , 2015 Spirit of CARIE Award-Philadelphia, Pa., 2010 Woman of Distinction Award, Southwest Women’s Ministry of the Pa. Baptist State Convention, among others.  She is a licensed clinical social worker in the State of Pennsylvania (LCSW) and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW). She is a lifetime member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Gamma Chi Omega member).

Email me: storyjoyinc@gmail.com

Dr. Raina J. León

Co-Founder

Dr. Raina J. León is an Afro-Boricua, native Philadelphian.  She is a daughter, sister, madrina, comadre, partner, poet, writer, and teacher educator.  She believes in collective action and community work, the profound power of holding space for the telling of our stories, and the liberatory practice of humanizing education. She seeks out communities of care and craft as a writer and as an academic.  She is a member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Macondo.  She is the author of three collections of poetry, Canticle of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn, and sombra: (dis)locate and the chapbooks, profeta without refuge and Areyto to Atabey:  Essays on the Mother(ing) Self in the Afro-Boricua.  She has received numerous fellowships and residencies and is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latinx arts.  She has recently been promoted to full professor of education at Saint Mary’s College of California, a rank only .007% of women of two races or more attain in American academia.  She has been actively coaching creatives in creative practice and the business of writing, graduate students and academics (especially those from historically marginalized communities), and youth for over 10 years.  She is a proud general member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Email me: storyjoyinc@gmail.com

Sarah Rafael García

Affiliated Consultant

Sarah Rafael García is a writer, community educator, and performance ethnographer. She’s the author of Las Niñas (Floricanto Press 2008) and SanTanas Fairy Tales (Raspa Magazine 2017), co-editor of pariahs writing from outside the margins (SFASU Press 2016) and the forthcoming sci-fi anthology Speculative Fiction for Dreamers (OSU Press 2021). She is the founder of Barrio Writers, LibroMobile and Crear Studio. She has over 15 years of experience in the Literary Arts, 12 years of community work as an Arts Leader and received over $80K in grants for her literary arts projects. In 2010 Senator Lou Correa honored her with the “Women Making a Difference” award and in 2011 she was awarded for “Outstanding Contributions to Education” by the Orange County Department of Education. She obtained a M.F.A. in Creative Writing with a cognate in Media Studies in May 2015. In 2016, Sarah Rafael was awarded for SanTana’s Fairy Tales multi-media exhibition, which was supported in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, through a grant supporting the Artist-in-Residence initiative at CSUF Grand Central Art Center. In 2018, she participated in a collaborative artist residency at The Guesthouse, Cork, Ireland and was honored as an Emerging Artist at the 19th Annual Orange County Arts Awards. In 2019, she was recognized as an inaugural ASU Desert Nights, Rising Stars Fellow and recipient of the UH KGMCA-Project Row Houses Fellowship. Currently, she splits her time between shipping books out to loyal readers across the nation, teaching Ethnofiction for Contemporary Narratives, and developing an archival ethnofiction project for the life of Modesta Avila as a 2020 USLDH Mellon-Funded Grantee.

Email me: sarah@sarahrafaelgarcia.com

Dr. Manuel Guadalupe Galaviz

Affiliated Consultant

Dr. Manuel Guadalupe Galaviz is an anthropologist and ethnographer specializing in borders and borderlands.

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