It is the 20th year of the One Book, One Philadelphia project, and as special as that is on its own, it is made all the more exciting due to the fact that this year’s title, My Broken Language by Quiara Alegría Hudes, is a love letter to the city of Philadelphia.
The book breathes with Philly air. You can feel the one-way streets below your feet on each page. Even in its challenging moments, there is the present spirit of Philly all around, pulsing with music and life. It is impossible to separate the city from this book, especially in moments like this one:
“During a crowded Odunde procession, we stood on the South Street bridge and dropped melons into the Schuylkill River, alongside neighbors throwing money, flowers, y miel. That Philly afternoon, aché rained down.” (94)
How lucky are we then, to have a book so connected to this city of ours.
While it is no secret that for each year of One Book we plan a whole season of events based around themes of the selected title, this year we are lucky enough to have programming based around organizations, people, and even specific buildings that are mentioned in My Broken Language.
For example, last week’s Playing with Your Broken Language: A Virtual Playwriting Workshop was partnered with Power Street Theatre, an organization founded in part by Hudes’s own sister, Gabriela Sanchez.
At this point, we are about half way through the One Book, One Philadelphia program. And yet with only a month left to go, there is no shortage of programs that do this book, and this city, justice.
Of the many upcoming events in the next few weeks, here are a few that we are so excited about. This select number of events are connected to My Broken Language through and through, so even if you haven’t sunk your teeth into the book yet, you can feel as connected to this book and this city as we do.
¡Looking Bilingüe! with Quiara Alegría Hudes | Tuesday, May 17 at 6:00 p.m.
Join Jade Cintrón Báez, creator of ¡Looking Bilingüe!, and One Book, One Philadelphia 2022 featured author, Quiara Alegría Hudes, for a conversation inspired by Hudes's memoir, My Broken Language. Engaging many aspects of Latino/a/x/é identity, ¡Looking Bilingüe! is a storytelling platform about multiculturalism and multilingualism for predominantly first through third generation Latinés.
This conversation will explore how Latiné experiences in the U.S. make a patchwork quilt rather than a melting pot. Moved by historias familiares and our own physical journeys, charlamos about how living in the U.S. impacts our Latinidad through place, space, and multigenerational status. ¿Cuando somos ni de aquí, ni de allá y cuando somos de aquí Y allá?
Norris Square Gardens Tour and Discussion | Saturday, May 21 at 11:00 a.m.
Created between 1980 and 2006 by a collective of women called Grupo Motivos, the Norris Square Neighborhood Project's Gardens are dedicated to Puerto Rican cultural heritage.
Located in the Kensington neighborhood depicted in the One Book, One Philadelphia 2022 selection, My Broken Language—Quiara Alegría Hudes's memoir of coming of age in 1980s Philly—NSNP's gardens embody many of the stories Hudes shares, reflecting the same era and place the gardens were born.
Join us for a tour to learn more about these gardens, their history, and the culture they celebrate. Refreshments will be provided and we'll draw from My Broken Language for an interactive discussion that celebrates the importance of green spaces in our communities.
We'll meet at Parcelas Garden, located at 2248 Palethorp Street, Philadelphia, PA.
Indigenous Caribbean Heritage Workshop | Tuesday, May 31 at 7:00 p.m.
This online presentation and discussion will provide an introduction to Caribbean people's histories, focusing on what indigeneity is and what it means for people living in and in the diaspora of the Caribbean today.
Many mainstream narratives about indigeneity embody colonial views of who Natives are, what they might look like and how they should act, and who can claim "Indigenous." Our discussion will draw from My Broken Language and explore what it means to decolonize perceptions and awareness of indigeneity.
Presenter Priscilla Bell Lamberty was born in Lenapehoking, North Philadelphia, and raised in the Hunting Park section of the city. She is a muralist and educator who has taught about Indigenous Caribbean culture for over 20 years, and is the recipient of a Leeway Art & Change grant, Taino Storyteller of the Year Award, and Taino Muralist of the Year Award. She works as a freelance muralist with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and as a teaching artist for Fleisher Art Memorial.
Latine Reproductive Justice Panel | Wednesday, June 8 at 6:00 p.m.
Join Philadelphia community activists for a discussion about often untold histories of reproductive oppression, from forced sterilization to the criminalization of pregnant bodies; current issues that Latine transgender, non-binary, and cisgender individuals are confronting; and policy work and grassroots activism in the struggle for anti-racist reproductive justice.
The panel discussion will be structured as a community roundtable, inviting attendees to share experiences, resources, and stories, and will take place in person at Ramonita G. de Rodriguez Library as well as online. The event will take place in English and Spanglish, with live Spanish translation.
- Amy Eusebio, Director, Office of Immigrant Affairs (co-moderator)
- Elicia Gonzalez, Director, Abortion Liberation Fund (co-moderator)
- Mikah Thomas, previously with GALAEI
- Daisy Ortiz, Comadre Luna Collective