Women’s History Month may have ended for the year, but women are still making history all over the world. To elevate and celebrate these all-too-often underrepresented voices, editor, activist and philanthropist Deborah Santana harnessed the talents of 69 diverse women writers for a new anthology, All the Women in My Family Sing: Women Write the World—Essays on Equality, Justice, and Freedom.
Entirely written, produced, published and promoted by women of color, All the Women in My Family Sing is ambitious in its scope, an accomplishment in the tradition of 1983’s feminist-of-color classic This Bridge Called My Back. It exemplifies the potential and brilliance of some of the most marginalized among us, exploring themes of gender and sexuality, immigration and travel, social justice and equality, beauty and trauma.
Featured in the anthology are women ages 16-77, representing African-American, Native American, Asian-American, Muslim, Cameroonian, Kenyan, Liberian, Mexican-American, Korean, Chinese-American and LGBTQI experiences. Among the many as-yet-unknown writers are several better-known voices, including actress America Ferrera, Queen Sugar author Natalie Baszile, pioneering journalist Belva Davis, activist Marian Wright Edelman, president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women Musimbi Kanyoro, and poet and essayist (and former contributing editor to The Root) Hope Wabuke.
As explained on the anthology’s website, in addition to enlightening its readers, the publishers of All the Women in My Family Sing—called a “watershed title”—also hope to disrupt the book-publishing industry: “Our vision is to empower underrepresented voices and to impact the world of book publishing in America—particularly important in an industry that considerably lacks diversity.”
The anthology, which was released in January on independent imprint Nothing but the Truth Publishing, has already garnered considerable praise:
- Novelist Farai Chideya writes: “In all these fierce and anthemic pieces we see the true face of womanhood, in all its colors.”
- Actress and activist Alfre Woodard was inspired: “These perfectly chosen Woman Words are a healing gift from new sistahs, now my family, for whom I will fight, with whom I will stand and because of whom I will build.”
- From legendary jazz singer Nancy Wilson: “The voices in All the Women in My Family Sing intermingle to produce a harmony of moving experiences that taps into the rhythm of our collective desires for a more compassionate world.”
- And The Root’s founder, Henry Louis Gates Jr., wrote:
In this beautifully composed chorus of sixty-nine voices, Deborah Santana has given us a fascinating and compelling anthology of essays by women of color. Each of these brief, poignant pieces illuminates one woman’s negotiation between her aspirations and the forces that would constrict her dreams. The contributors write prophetically of their struggles and triumphs in the early years of the twenty-first century, challenging the reader with their revelations. All the Women in My Family Sing is essential reading.
Having read several essays from the anthology, I can personally attest that the praise is well-deserved. For those who love womankind—and those seeking to understand the depth and breadth of womanhood— All the Women in My Family Sing is a timely reminder that when it comes to women of color, love is still a revolutionary act.
The Glow Up tip: All the Women in My Family Sing is available now at various outlets, including Amazon.com.