Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

How “Literary LILIs” examines modern Latine literature, honoring Latina stories

Emma George

In “Literary LILIs,” members dissect books about the stereotypes that exist in the Latine community. Except, it doesn’t matter if they’ve read the book, as these issues surface back to real-life struggles for all of them. 

“I think it was just talking to people and getting to relate to some things in the book, but also about just getting to know each other more,” said Natalia Torres, a journalism sophomore, in English.

The book club began in fall 2022 under the Latina/x Indigenous Leadership Institute, a student success initiative that supports and connects Latine students on campus. Literary LILIs meet once a month to discuss a book over arts and crafts, while members can request a free book copy if they can’t get access to it.

Roxanna Sanchez, a librarianship and information studies graduate student, helped to create Literary LILIs to discuss the intersectionalities and discourse in the Latine community, choosing different genres of books by Latina authors inspired by their life experiences.

For October’s book of the month, Literary LILIs chose to cover “The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School” by Sonora Reyes, a coming-of-age novel that navigates sexuality and acceptance in the Latine community. 

“Because we’re not just Latinas, we’re Latinas that are lesbian or bisexual, or transexual or overweight,” Sanchez said in Spanish. “There are a lot of identities that are intersectional that have to be discussed and isn’t done, so that is why we have this book club.”

Sanchez said she also wants to create a better discourse about the stereotypes in Latine communities, in which people may have consumed stories that were written by people who don’t know much about the community. 

Irma Guzman, a journalism junior and an intern at LILI, said that the organization helped her find a community on such a big campus, where not everybody speaks Spanish compared to her hometown in El Paso, TX.

“It feels good to have a community where people understand you,” Guzman said in Spanish.

When it comes to Literary LILIs, Guzman said it’s important to cover these books as it helps to let out suppressed emotions in the Latine community, making you feel like you’re not alone. 

However, the future of Literary LILIs is unknown. With the recent Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) bill SB 17 that takes effect January 2024, Texas public universities are required to remove DEI offices. 

“We don’t know how long we have here (at) the University, if we’re going to have to close or have to cancel the LILI program entirely for the legislation that is being passed, which is against Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs in Texas universities,” Sanchez said. 

With all of this, Sanchez said they are trying to see how to maintain the program and gain more attendance, attention and promotion to show that Literary LILIs is making an impact on campus.

“I hope they keep Literary LILIs,” Torres said. “I feel like it’s important knowing that there’s someone out there, like repping for who you are and what you are.”

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About the Contributor
Emma George, Comics Editor
Emma is currently a Spring 2023 Comics Editor. She is a junior civil engineering major whoe loves to draw, read, and visiting art museums. She has previously been a Comics sStaffer and Comics Senior Illustrator.