Leslie Priscilla is the founder of Latinx Parenting, a bilingual organization and movement rooted in children’s rights, social and racial justice, the practice of nonviolence and reparenting, intergenerational and ancestral healing, cultural sustenance, and the active decolonization of oppressive practices within families. She is a first generation non-Black Xicana mother and daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico. Through Latinx Parenting she offers coaching, workshops, and resources and is a vocal activist in the move to #EndChanclaCulture. “We are transforming the culture of parenting by educating, advocating, envisioning and inspiring families to end the cycle of violence towards themselves and their children through the practice of nonviolence, self-reflection, connection, and community wellness towards liberation and thriving,” she previously told HipLatina.
Which Latina(s) have had the greatest impact on your life and why?
The Latinas that have the greatest impact on my life have been my comadres. I am a strong believer in being able to choose our families and allowing ourselves to be supported. My personal account used to be called Comadre Wellness and it spoke to embracing the need for comadrehood through our mothering journey. I’ve had some of the same comadres since even before I became a mother, but the ones that have been there not only for me but for my children have made the most impact on my life.
If you could meet a Latina icon who is no longer alive, who would it be and why?
It might sound cliche but I would meet Selena Quintanilla. I bet she would be a comadre. I feel like there would be a really great vibra between us. She represents so much about the beauty of our culture and I would want her to be told that and how much of an impact she has had on our culture.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is not to take life too seriously. This is from my dad. My Papi has sometimes taken this to an extreme, but I’ve learned from him to find humor and lightness in a lot of what would otherwise bog me down. Life can be so funny and we can choose to laugh or to cry. There is value to doing both, but often the weight is heavier on the grief and not on the celebration, laughter, and humor that we can bring into things without diminishing what there is to grieve.
If you could pursue a career in an industry other than your own, what would it be and why?
I would be a midwife! I am very passionate about birth justice and I often fantasize about being able to support mothers through that journey and towards a birth experience that can be beautiful and transformative. I was recently present for the labor experience of one of my best friends right up until the end and I just found it magical and found it for me to be a privilege and great honor to be a part of that story.
Who was the first person to believe in your dreams/goals?
This was my mom. She has never doubted that I had it in me to be able to be something great. Even though her behavior didn’t always support this, I remember being little and feeling very encouraged to do what I loved to do. She had to sacrifice a lot in order for me to have access to the education that gave me the privilege I now hold to be able to grow Latinx Parenting and be a writer.
What do you wish more people understood about what you do?
I would like people to understand that I don’t have any rigidity around parenting and that I don’t approach this work with any intent to shame or judge parents. People often get turned off to the parenting space because we don’t want to be told what to do, and I understand this. However, parenting is actually less about being told what to do and more about accepting an invitation into your own healing journey.
What motivates you?
I feel motivated by the amount of work we still have to do so that kids can grow up free of violence and parents can develop in communities that are supportive, understanding, and compassionate. I dream of a vision where we are free of Chancla Culture and immersed in the beauty of our collectivism and joys.
How did you end up on the professional path you’re on now?
I worked with children for many years as a preschool teacher, because I wanted to make a difference and be a safe space for children. I started noticing the ways that kids were disconnected from their parents because that would manifest as behaviors that other teachers didn’t understand. Around the time I started having those observations, I became pregnant with my first child and realized I had no idea what to do. I began recognizing how important of a role parents play in guiding and supporting their children and began learning about thing that were going to help me to form a blueprint for the kind of mom I wanted to be. Once I felt like I had a very strong footing on the way forward, I became certified as a parent coach and educator and began working with parents from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Years later I founded Latinx Parenting because there was a disconnection between what was “normal” or normalized in our culture and ways of being with children that were more nonviolent.
What is your greatest professional achievement so far? Personal achievement?
My greatest professional achievement has been building Latinx Parenting into an organization that I dreamed about for years before actually creating it. The stories I have been able to witness and the parents, families and professionals have been able to support have been extremely humbling and the experience has been the most rewarding. I feel a sense of purpose that doesn’t make this feel like “work” and makes it feel like I really am on a mission that will ultimately support the health, safety, well-being and thriving of Latinx kids. My greatest personal achievements are the kinds of people my children are becoming.
What is a goal you have that you haven’t accomplished yet and what are you doing to get closer to accomplishing it?
My greatest emerging professional achievement has been to move forward in becoming a published author. I just submitted the proposal for my first book, currently on the desks of agents, and it has felt like a very emotional experience that I’m very proud of because it has honored the dreams I have had for myself since I was a child.
What pop culture moment made you feel seen?
This is hard! I don’t know if it was a moment such as something that was so significant to my identity development and that was when Selena was killed. I remember being picked up from elementary school and being told by my mom, and I remember the deep sadness I felt as someone who had been a fan of her and the confusion and anger that I felt, and still feel, about how her life was lost.
How do you practice self care?
By getting off screen time and going outside! I also really like to go on walks around sunset and be on the phone with a friend or a colleague at work. I feel fortunate that I live in Southern California and that the majority of the time the weather is amenable to being outdoors. I also really enjoy going to the beach with my kids and just sitting and taking in my life and feeling grateful.
Shoutout an Instagram account that could use more love and tell us why you’re a fan:
Shout out to @_priscillaluna who is always sharing so many ways for us to stay involved as advocates for the Latinx community. She’s a true activist in the community and I appreciate the way she shows up for the people and the movements that relate to us.
Shoutout your favorite Latina owned business and why:
There are so many!!! Right now I’m loving my friend Rosalia of @consentparenting! I’m a huge fan because Rosalia talks about teaching our children autonomy and sovereignty over their bodies and keep safe.