Powerful, bold, and memorable. Cristina Mariscal compels even the most skeptical audience with her story:
She did not always know how to find and nurture healthy relationships. She grew up in a single parent household where most adults were often neglectful, abusive, and even violent. Consequently, she found refuge in “friends,” alcohol, and drugs and so her childhood experiences led her down the most terribly self-destructive time of her life; she seemed destined to fall into the cycle of physical and psychological abuse that three generations of women in her family had faced. Young, pregnant and utterly lacking self-confidence, Mariscal barely graduated from high school.
In this presentation, Mariscal has harnessed the rhythms of anger and release, frustration and joy to indelible effect. Audiences, young and adult, connect with Mariscal’s painful past and her determination to heal her own wounds. She intimately understands the trauma and confusion that so many adolescents face.
Through spiritual elders and a committed guidance counselor, she began to ground herself, reconnecting to her ancestral past using Aztec dance and music. Mariscal grew to respect herself and discover positive relationships, and as a result, Cristina was handed a sacred position to teach and lead an indigenous dance circle — a circle that she helped initiate over 20 years ago.
Cristina Mariscal’s path of struggle and perseverance goes hand in hand with her courage to return to school while still raising a family. First generation in her family to go to college, Mariscal is currently studying at Mills College where she will complete her education in Women’s Studies and subsequently plans to attend medical school to become a midwife like her grandmother. She now has a devoted family and community she leans on, and has mended important relationships.
Cristina Mariscal compels youth to visualize themselves beyond the seeming hopelessness that comes from feeling no one understands their pain, and persuades them to find and accept a helping hand from positive teachers, counselors and peers.
View excerpts from one of Cristina’s presentations to High School students (3 min. QuickTime video)
Topics addressed in presentation include:
FRIENDS • SELF-ESTEEM • DRUGS • TEEN PREGNANCY