RASA program presents guest speaker and author Reyna Grande


Lydia Tesfaye

Guest speaker and author Reyna Grande with the attendees through Zoom on April 22. Grande talks about her books called, “The Distance Between Us” and “A Dream Called Home,” which are about her journey and being an immigrant from Mexico.

Sacramento City College’s Retention Advancement and Student Achievement program held an event on April 22 with guest speaker Reyna Grande where she discussed her two recent books and the hardship she has faced in life.
Grande is a successful author that wrote “The Distance Between Us” and “A Dream Called Home”. These two books discuss the journey she went through in life,being an immigrant from Mexico and dealing with childhood trauma, to becoming the person she is today.
“I had to find a way to deal with my own traumas in a way that didn’t hurt myself and anyone else, that’s when I discovered writing,” Grande said. “I would channel all of my feelings by writing and I realized that every time I wrote in my journal, I felt so much better about everything I was going through”.
RASA team leader Alejandra Benites explained how important it was to have Grande there as a guest speaker as her story connected with many students and was a great representation for students to look up to.
“These students have been reading her books these past two semesters and they really resonated with her and her story,” Benites said. “A lot of our students are first generation students and are seeing the effects of family separation and deportation, so a lot of our students felt connected to her.”
The event was held through Zoom and was done in a way where you can see the special guest and the attendees as a way to not make the guest uncomfortable by simply talking to the screen and having an open conversation with everyone, Benites said.
Grande described the uphill journey she went through to become an author. Going to a community college where she learned that she could turn her hobby of writing into an actual career. She then talked about how she went to UC Santa Cruz and began writing her first book for her senior project as an undergraduate.
“ I wrote the first half of the book there and after I graduated it took me three years to finish the book,” Grande said. “This is what helped me become a professional writer and now it’s been 15 years that I have been writing professionally, and I keep writing for the same reason when I first began as an expression of myself and how I feel.”
Many attendees were excited to see Grande and get as much advice as they could from her as they see themselves in her. They understand her struggles and have gone through similar things like her.
During the Q&A portion of the meeting, one attendee asked Grande how she managed being a mother while going to school and if she felt any guilt pursuing her goals and dreams.
“One of the things I’ve learned is that when I help myself pursue my dreams, I now have been able to become the parent that can provide for her children,” Grande said. “Luckily, I didn’t listen to my guilt. I pushed it aside and told myself that I wasn’t just doing it for me but I was doing it for my son too.”
Grande encouraged the attendees to “not just survive but thrive” and that they “deserve a seat at the table.”