with Reyna Grande
SANDRA CISNEROS FELLOWSHIP
Jesús Mena, son of undocumented Mexican immigrants who grew up as a migrant farm worker, has had essays and stories published in Latinx Writing Los Angeles: Nonfiction Dispatches from a Decolonial Rebellion, 201 Homenaje a La Ciudad de Los Angeles: Latino Experience in Literature and Art and Solo en San Miguel—anthology of short stories. His nearly finished novel Blood at the Root is set in the south Texas Rio Grande Valley and captures the turmoil unleashed by the arrival of the first railroad in 1904 and the bloody 1915 Plan de San Diego Rebellion, which was brutally crushed. In his words, the novel “explores the human will to survive and to preserve dignity despite the Jim Crow denigration of Mexicans that the new order imposed.” As a journalist, he wrote extensively on the plight of the undocumented, the abusive practices of ICE, and the lack of health care and housing for the poor, with op-ed’s in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Oakland Tribune and a commentary on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” He is a former director of communications for UC-Berkeley and Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.