"Within that central metaphor are these concepts, like working with the interface between different realities-nepantla space. Nepantla is kind of an elaboration of Borderlands, I use nepantla to talk about the creative act, I use it talk about the construction of identity, I use it to describe a function of the mind. Borderlands with a small b is the actual southwest borderlands or any borderlands between two cultures, but when I use the capital B it's a metaphor for processes of many things: psychological, physical, mental."
Quincentennial From Victimhood to Active Resistance, Ines Hernandez-Avila y Gloria E. Anzaldua (1991)
Provided by Shilpa Karbhari, Visiting Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice:
On March 1, the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Wells College, Dean of Students, Campus Life staff, student activists, and myself walked down the road that skirts the beautiful Cayuga Lake. We were the few nepantleras who had come together to show our support and solidarity for human rights. As nepantleras we were involved in the creative act of addressing the issue of human rights.
How did we do that? On behalf of Wells College, we nepantleras were taking small steps in Aurora to campaign for trans youth, women, the elderly, indigenous people, immigrants, and finally the right to live in sustainable communities. Wells nepantleras marched in unison holding up banners and posters excitedly shouting for recognition. We kept thinking about the repercussions of the solidarity march and for work that had to be done in the near future.
We reflected upon the previous two days' events and understood the challenges we would continue to face, especially the lack of will to organize and be involved in community organizing. Earlier in the day, Dr. Sean Eversley Bradwell from Ithaca College had instilled hope in us. He stated that every small step in the direction of organizing—including social justice-centered panel discussions or protests or petitions—mattered.
What we took away from this engagement was that once radicals are able to stir the conscience, then this process of conscience raising enables an activist-centered conscience. Anzaldua (quoted above) takes the consciousness-raising journey a step further to refer to it as "spiritual activism."
Presently, this is where Wells nepantleras are at; they are driven to navigate the cracks in a space that is marked by race, class, sexuality and disability: an in-between space.