Owning Your Inner Badass for Healing and Justice


Owning Your Inner Badass for Healing and Justice

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Creating the world you want to live in takes guts and grace and everything you've got. To heal the world, though, you've also got to find healing yourself. You've got to get in touch with your inner badass.

In Chingona, Mexican American activist, scholar, and podcast host Alma Zaragoza-Petty helps us claim our inner chingona, a Spanish term for "badass woman." For all the brown women the world has tried to conquer, badassery can be an asset, especially when we face personal and collective trauma. Working for change while preserving her spirit, a chingona repurposes her pain for the good of the world. She may even learn that she belongs to a long line of chingonas who came before her--unruly women who used their persevering energy to survive and thrive.

As a first-generation Mexican American, Zaragoza-Petty narrates in riveting terms her own childhood, split between the rain-soaked beauty of her grandparents' home in Acapulco and a harsh new life as an immigrant family in Los Angeles. She describes the chingona spirit she began to claim within herself and leads us toward the courage required to speak up and speak out against oppressive systems. As we begin to own who we are as chingonas, we go back to where our memories lead, insist on telling our own stories, and see our scars as proof of healing.

Liberating ourselves from the bondage of the patriarchy, white supremacy, and colonization that exists in our own bodies, we begin to see our way toward a more joyful future. This work won't be easy, Zaragoza-Petty reminds us. Imagining a just and healed world from the inside out will take dialing in to our chingona spirit. But by unleashing our inner badass, we join the righteous fight for dignity and justice for all.


"Dr. Alma Zaragoza-Petty's recollection of her upbringing and how she has journeyed to reclaim the term chingona is a sisterhood chat we all need to hear. The words in this book are the healing balm and permission we all need in order to reclaim the selves that we were told had to look or be a certain way in order to be seen, heard, or valued."

Arielle Estoria, spoken word poet, actor, and speaker

"Chingona is deeply honest and vulnerable. Liberating. Zaragoza-Petty invites all of us to a self-centering that discovers and honors the stories of our histories; de nuestros antepasados; de Dios. What a badass testimonio!"

Rich Pérez, author, speaker, and fIlmmaker

"Chingona is filled with lyrical storytelling and liberating truths. If you are looking for a book to challenge and empower you, this is the book to read. Grab a highlighter because you'll need it!"

Faitth Brooks, author, speaker, and educator

"A raw, honest, and powerful book. Zaragoza-Petty offers a gift to monocultural readers: insight into the realities of twenty-first-century multicultural experience. For us multicultural readers, she holds up our liminality as sacred and a core part of justice-centering as she weaves between stories and language, pain and healing, unjust realities and hope."

Kathy Khang, activist and author of Raise Your Voice: Why We Stay Silent and How to Speak Up

"In Chingona, la doctora offers a brave and rare testimonio of the Chicana/Latina experience. Incorporating the best of Chicanx Studies and CRT in education, she captures the struggle of so many of our sisters and primas and points us ultimately to Jesús, the prototype curandero."

Robert Chao Romero, professor at University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Brown Church

"If you are a Black or brown woman that the world has tried to conquer, this book is for you. As an Afro-Latina, I find my own story in each page. I'm thankful that Alma Zaragoza-Petty was brave enough to show up as her whole self; it makes me feel visible. Bravo, amiga!"

Ligia Noemi Cushman, author, child welfare consultant, and international speaker

"Chingona is the book I wish I had growing up as a migrant Mexicana in the United States. Zaragoza-Petty writes from her heart and her mind, with poetic phrasing and beautiful attention to honoring her experience. She applies the concept of mija spirituality in a powerful way that invites her readers to heal, grow, and lead. I am thankful that she has chosen her camino and invites us to do the same."

Noemi Vega, speaker and coauthor of Hermanas: Deepening Our Identity and Growing Our Influence

"As with all the greats, Dr. Alma Zaragoza-Petty invites us to see that the fractures within ourselves and each other are the starting point for a more just world. An important read in turning our pain into redemptive power."

Scott Erickson, author of Honest Advent and Say Yes


Zaragoza-Petty's compassion shines, and her incisive account of her life provides sharp observations on what it's like to grow up as the child of immigrants in the U.S. The result is a wise volume on discovering oneself.

Publishers Weekly

"In telling her own story, Alma Zaragoza-Petty energizes others to own, celebrate, and embody the truths of their own personalities, histories, and beliefs."

—Foreword Reviews

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506483184
  • eBook ISBN 9781506483191
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 195
  • Publication Date November 1, 2022