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Write What You Know: Culturally Tailored Narratives to Facilitate Conversations in Mexican-American Immigrant Families

 Angelica Alvarez Orlachia
Angelica Alvarez Orlachia
Faculty Adviser(s)

A recent examination of Disney/Pixar films — works traditionally aimed at young children and families — finds an increase of more mature, mental health-related themes. Especially recently, these themes have begun to address culturally-specific mental health themes, such as generational trauma in films like Encanto and Turning Red, which have opened public conversations in regard to these topics within cultural minority groups. Inspired by the conversational paths opened by these films — as well as the culturally-tailored narratives used within the medical sphere in order to increase awareness of physical health concerns — my goal for this project was to produce a similar screenplay in order to open avenues of communication and facilitate conversations about the intersection of queerness and cultural identity. The work follows a young Mexican-American girl as she grapples with conflicts arising with her cultural identity and coming out to her family. In this presentation, I will briefly discuss the research process that led to this work including contextualizing it within health humanities and will be reading a selection from the script produced. 


Angelica Alvarez Orlachia, hailing from Dobson, North Carolina, is a triple major in Creative Writing, English & Professional Writing, and Health Humanities. As a queer, first-generation Mexican American, she has a vested interest in diversifying creative-focused fields and expanding access to the academy by working to blur the lines between academic and creative writings. She is currently a consultant at the Salem College Writing Center and serves as Vice President and Secretary on the H.O.L.A. and Open Up boards, respectively.