Julie Avril Minich is Associate Professor of English and Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, coeditor of
Mental Health and Migrant Justice: Family Separation and Reimagining Wellness
This chapter examines the work of four Latinx writers separated from their parents as children–Reyna Grande, Junot Díaz, Javier Zamora, and Karla Cornejo Villavicencio–to elaborate how each depicts family separation and its mental health effects. Read together, these writers offer an opportunity to consider how the notion of radical health developed throughout this book extends to literary engagements with mental health. In the work of Grande, Díaz, Zamora, and Cornejo, migrant parents are often as traumatized as their children. Excavating this trauma, Grande, Díaz, Zamora, and Cornejo offer not only a gesture of care toward their own parents, but the forging of an ethic of radical migrant mental health–one that both destigmatizes the effects of trauma and critiques the conditions that produce it. The texts examined here thus illuminate the need for immigration policy that accounts for the traumas that both compel and accompany migration.