232: How to Decolonize Femtorship with Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres

232: How to Decolonize Femtorship with Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres


On today’s episode, Jasmine Marie Mageno “JT” Torres shares her insights on how to decolonize femtorship. JT brings 15 years of student support service experience and most recently 8 years of work in the TRIO community.

Jasmine has completed her doctoral coursework and is preparing for a study to better understand the identity development of indigenous CHamoru students attending college. JT received her Master of Science in Education and has since been consulting with programs and professionals to bring a decolonized lens to their leadership and work.

On the show, JT defines femtorship and decolonization and how they tie in to limiting inclusion and advancement, especially for BIPOC women. She shares insights on how to be a better femtor and femtee. JT also addresses how to support indigenous students, first-gen students, and students from other diverse cultures. You can connect with JT via Instagram (@streetwisedoctora).

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232: How to Decolonize Femtorship with Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres


Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: [00:00:00] Welcome back everyone to another episode of the Grad School Femtoring Podcast. This is your host, Dr. Yvette. And today we are going to be discussing the topic of how to decolonize femtorship. Oh, that's such a good topic. Our guest is Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres, otherwise known as JT. JT brings 15 years of student support service experience, ranging from diverse functional areas, which include grant programming, student leadership, I'm going to talk a little bit about J.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: T. She has spent many years in the student government, fraternity, sorority life, housing, outreach, and most recently, eight years of work in the TRIO community. She has completed her doctoral coursework and will be preparing for a study to better understand the identity and development of Indigenous Chamorro students attending college.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: J. T. received her Master of Science in Education and has since been consulting with programs and professionals to bring a [00:01:00] decolonized lens to their leadership. And work, I'm super excited to have you in the podcast. Welcome J T.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: I'm super excited to be here.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Yay. Yay. So actually I should mention that you're one of the folks that has come on the show.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Thanks to the recommendation of a listener. So every once in a while I ask people on social media, Hey, do you all have anyone that you recommend? And you were recommended, I think by more than one person. So I'm so grateful to them. Because I don't think, yeah, we wouldn't have connected and I really loved connecting with you.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So I hope this will be the first of many conversations we'll have.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Absolutely. I think that when we did have our initial opportunity to connect we can definitely see like futuristic convergence points to continue.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So for folks who want to learn more about you, what can you tell us about yourself?

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Like can you tell us a little bit more about who you are, what you [00:02:00] do? And. Anything you're comfortable sharing about your background and backstory?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Yeah, so it's 2023, and this is the first year that I've actually been sharing a little bit more about my story, and that is, I let folks know I'm first gen, I am indigenous Chamorro on my mom's side, so she's from Guahan or Guam I'm Chicanx on my dad's side he is first generation Mexican American and so it's, It's a very unique experience.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: I think for sure. I'm system impacted, you know, so growing up I love my parents very much. So I definitely want to like front load that they had us young and my, my mom and dad came from two very different worlds. My dad's an ex homeboy and extra dealer. And so Through my childhood. I had some, you know, we were system impacted, I guess I'll say.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And so there was a period of time where I did not think that I would make it to the academic arena, at least not a player in [00:03:00] the arena. I'm formerly incarcerated myself. And so if it weren't for programs like trio or programs like EOPNS at the community college in California, I definitely would not be here.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Speaking with you today. And I think that because that's the first time that I've really been public about it. I would say February of this year is the first time I've wanted to share those parts of myself openly. yEah, I think that it, it helps to understand the depth of what I'm saying or the context of what I'm saying and, and why I love the work that I do in trio.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And so, yeah, so there's that I wasn't the A plus student. You know, I was definitely we call, you know, I did this 1 presentation before called the 10 percent of students that take up 90 percent of your time and I was definitely the 10 percent of students that took up, you know, a lot of time and space, you know, coming from a background of trauma being lost as, a young [00:04:00] head and really trying to find my place in the world. You know, it was very difficult in my journey. And so now I'm like, okay, well, how can I frame my experiences? So that others can benefit from my experiences and, and, and you know. Just being able to lift as I climb, you know, there has to be a vulnerability that I'm able to own in order to, you know, really get, you know, what I have to say out there and why those things make sense.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So, but I'll pause there. That's just a little bit about my backstory. You kind of mentioned the functional areas that I've worked in. But yeah, I'm a former trio student. I was not the best trio student. I was a homeless student in college. And so if. The trio program didn't have pizza. It wasn't showing up right, you know, so that's the other part to it is I think that those parts of my journey really guide and remind me as I'm, you know, doing my daily [00:05:00] practitioner work that, you know, there are students that maybe not every student has had those experiences, but it really just kind of reminds you to keep an eye out for different lived experiences and making sure that you're supporting students in the way that they need.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You know thank you for sharing and for your willingness to be open and to be vulnerable in sharing a little bit more about your background and backstory. I know that it's It's not always easy to talk about these things, but it also provides opportunities for others to connect and to relate and to know that they are not alone.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And I, I can imagine that now that you are on the other side of things, instead of being the one necessarily receiving services, you're the one providing these support services. I feel like. There we all have some sort of approach or way that we do things. We all carry with us certain frameworks, whether we realize it or not, of how we do what we do.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And one thing that [00:06:00] you and I have in common is that we both value femtorship. And I know that for me, like everybody defines it differently. So I mean, when I think about femtorship, I think about About mentorship through an intersectional feminist lens. And in your case, you're also incorporating a decolonized approach.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And so I'm curious if you can tell us a little bit more about your approach and about how you define these terms, maybe even how you arrived at. thinking about these things? How do you go from being that 10 percent of students that you just mentioned to then starting your higher ed path and arriving at these concepts and now kind of talking about that about them and probably also implementing them in your day to day work?

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: That's a big question. So how did you arrive at them? How do you define them?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So I'll say I'll start with femtorship, right? The idea of femtorship I hadn't heard that word until I got to [00:07:00] college. And how I first heard that word I had a couple mentors on campus, my TRIO advisor, my EOP advisor, and they were also founding members of En Hermandad on their respective campuses.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So my true advisor was a founding sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Incorporated at Cal State Long Beach. And then my mentor at Cal State Fullerton was also a founding hermana for Cal State Fullerton's chapter of LTA. And so they exposed me to the idea of femtorship. They both had, you know, a Chicanx lens, a feminist lens, and just really understanding that there was a different type of and level of care that other BIPOC young women needed.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And a big part of that was, was just that feminist lens, right? Really understanding that we need something different. But that's really where the decolonization started to come into play for [00:08:00] me is, well, why do we have these patriarchal structures? And the need for fem and the need for it to be done differently and intentionally.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Well, you know, it's like you pull the string and you start to unravel. And then I became turned on to like the works of Paulo Freire and bell hooks and, you know, France Fanon and, you know, so when. I get into the term decolonization. I have an internal struggle with the term. On one hand I don't know if you've ever read Tuck and Yang, but Tuck and Yang wrote an article called Decolonizing is Not a Metaphor.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Right, and really trying to get folks to understand that when we talk about decolonization, and we're not specifically saying land back, we're not specifically discussing indigenous reparations that we run into. The struggle of where we've just now created it as a [00:09:00] metaphor and it can just become this buzzword.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And so we're really not tying it into actions that would eventually lead to something like land back, reparation, et cetera. So I do have that internal tension with utilizing decolonization, but at the same token I feel like when you pull the thread, it really does lead back to the colonial paradigm.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: I'll bring into play the indigeneity, right? So I am indigenous Chamorro. And so when I'm unpacking femtorship and I'm unpacking feminism and womanism, I look at my culture, who's a matrilineal, you know, matrilineal culture. So there's something that's not connecting. So if we have that patriarchy colonial paradigm, that's the disconnect that my culture [00:10:00] has.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And so when I start to decolonize Yes, using it as a metaphor, but start to decolonize the thought processes, start to unpack and then, you know, just deconstruct and then reconstruct it always comes down to what are we filtering out? All of the things that we're filtering out to create good femtorship, to create good leadership, to create good programming, we're filtering out the colonial paradigm.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And so while I agree with Tuck and Yang, that we need to be mindful that these Decolonization cannot just exist in a colonial, in a colonial theoretical framework. There is value in, you know, unpacking our processes. And so then how does that go back into marrying into femtorship? Well, some of the things, some of the negative [00:11:00] experiences I've had in what are supposed to be femtor relationships.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Are things that are birthed out of that colonial paradigm, right? The, I'll give you an example. I became really, really close friends with Christina Rodriguez. And, you know, she was having a lot of folks say, Oh, you got to meet this girl. She reminds me of you. And I had a bunch of people saying, Oh, you got to meet this girl.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: She reminds me of you. And so that was They were talking about Christina? Yeah, yeah. And that was a positive thing, right? We connected, we hit it off. But I haven't always had those experiences. I've had experiences where because you're so similar to someone, someone, whether it's within that paradigm or outside that paradigm, leads you to believe that there can only be one, right?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: They're like the, the You know, the audience or whatever it is, it's saturated, right? Like you can't do that because someone's already doing that. And that's a very colonial way of [00:12:00] thinking about things. And then going into what I've always been chasing is that hermandad, that, that collectivist culture that I was raised in.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: How come I'm not seeing it in other spaces? particularly in higher ed. Yeah. Right. So then when you start to unpack higher ed, just like my mentors from when I was an undergrad who taught me what femtorship was, I wanted to take it a step further and be able to Call out and name the elements of the colonial paradigm that have to be extracted from these relationships and these processes in order to really activate and, and, and take advantage of the capacity of femtorship.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Right? So what does that look like? It might look like taking hierarchy out of things. [00:13:00]

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: As someone who has worked in collectives, it's not easy, it's not always easy. Because then who takes initiative, right?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Right and so then I'm called to just that indigeneity. Well, how was it done before colonialism took over the island?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: How was it done before colonizers took over, you know? So let me go a little bit backwards and dip into my story a bit. When I was growing up, my parents common language was English, you know, my dad spoke Spanish, my mom spoke Chamorro, but their common language together was English. And I remember getting bullied a lot from other Latinas where it was, you're not Latina enough, you're not speaking Spanish.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And so my dad told me two things that stick with me to this day. The first was Well, Selena didn't know Spanish either, right, is that that's just a biggest [00:14:00] part is there are people out there who, for different reasons, did not have the language and. We don't know everybody's story, right? So my, my dad and my grandpa's story is you assimilate and that's survival.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And so, you know what I'm saying? And so that's one piece to it. And then the other part that my dad explained to me was Spanish wasn't our first language either. And that was the first time I heard that. So I asked my dad, well, tell me more. When he met my mom, he was going through, you know, his hardcore Chicano fades.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Where it's like he knew that there were social injustice, he knew that these institutions were set against him. He didn't quite understand the school to prison pipeline or the school to prison not even a pipeline now, but really just, just understanding that. An entire, you know there's a word for it, and I [00:15:00] apologize, it escapes me right now, but just really understanding what that means.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: He lived those things, and so when I was growing up, he was trying his hardest to get in touch with his indigenous roots. You know, he taught us, like, okay, your, your lineage is from the Tepehuan folks, you're, you know, the original from San Luis Potosi and Oaxaca, and so I started to, like, Mind blown, right?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Because when you're younger you're not always exposed to those things. Like, we have a very different way of seeing the world when we're younger. But those two things always stuck with me was that. Selena didn't speak Spanish, but that wasn't her native tongue, but also it wasn't our native tongue.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And so I thought about that a lot, and then I started to learn about how language is used as a tool for colonizers, right? Then I started to read into the works of Huateango, and how colonization is essentially a cultural bomb that takes [00:16:00] away culture, and language, and confidence, and all those things. So when I started to apply, All of the things that I was learning about when it comes to the decolonial theories and post colonial and neo colonial ways of being and showing up, although I don't have, you know, one thing that I ascribe to, I'm really trying to understand how these things move together.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: It has definitely impacted how I view femtorship, you know there's always somebody that's going to need someone. I'm always about lifting as you climb. I'm always about like going back to the hierarchy thing. I know that I'm going to share knowledge. As you know, if I'm coming into a situation or a relationship as a femtor, I'm always telling myself, okay, what did you need at that time in your career?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: What did you need at that age? Or what did you, you know, and that informs my [00:17:00] approach, but a lot of it is just asking questions. You know what do you need right now? You know do you need to ask questions about my experience? Are you just trying to fill a gap in your understanding and you need that?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Do you need a thought partner? Do you just need someone who's been in the game for a minute? Who can help to validate or help you organize thoughts, but at the end of the day, it's really that of service. Right. What did the matriarchs in my communities, both, you know, my dad's side and my mom's side, what was their goal?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Well, their goal was always to make sure to look out for the greater good, you know, and so just kind of circling back. That's really where it comes from is everything that I do in these relationships, even when I'm triggered, because let me keep it real, right? Because I'm knee deep and thick into the colonial paradigm.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: There are times where I'm like. Jazz, like, [00:18:00] chill for a second, like, stop there, like, you, you got triggered what triggered you. And so sometimes the things that trigger me are the colonial paradigm, are because I learned the rules and I played by the rules and then I forget sometimes, are you just regurgitating, you know, and, and you're being complicit in these structures and, and the way you're doing things.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And sometimes I have to stop myself and say, okay, how could I do that differently? How would I like to show up? Differently. And it really does come back to the idea of Are that, is that the true way things have to be or is that a colonizer mentality, you know, so I'll pause there because I know, you know, that's kind of the bigger arching things.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: But yeah, so when it comes to decolonizing femtorship, that's really what it means for me is observing colonialism, observing colonialism. How does power and privilege come to play in this [00:19:00] person's experience, and how can I help them to name, identify, unpack what those experiences are, and I'm telling you, half the time.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: We're talking about unpacking and deconstructing colonial, you know, philosophies and theories. And once I have, you know, the mentees or even the people that I reach out to for femtorship, we're able to really unpack, you know. That's what I was

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: gonna ask. I was gonna say you spent some time talking about how you approach your own relationships as a femtor.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: But I'm curious how that looks like. As a femtee, you know, on the opposite end, when there is that power dynamic, and you know, even if you're trying not to reify certain hierarchies, they might be in a position of power that's, you know, above you in some way, shape, or form. What does it look like to decolonize femtorship, you know, [00:20:00] from the other perspective as a femtee?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And that part's hard, right? Because you only have control over yourself. Yeah. You can't really control how other people perceive what you're saying, how they're responding. But I'll give a couple examples. So, right now with my supervisor. I approach my, my interactions with her where I validate myself first as the expert of what I was hired to do.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: I think that I first decolonize myself. have my relationship with myself, so that when I show up with her it's like managing up, right? I'm constantly aware of how I want to be treated in that situation. But also recognizing I know that that example is just one example, but also recognizing that your supervisor is not always going to be your femtor.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Right. But because that's the dynamic that I want to get as close to as [00:21:00] possible when I have leaders who identify as female leaders I want them to understand, Hey, we're on the same team. You and I could work towards what we both want, or we can work against each other. I want to be a thought partner, you know, so a lot of it is really learned.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And, and just having the confidence which it has come with time. There are so many times with. As a femtee that I've created the environment in a colonial way, because it's the only thing I know. So it might look like, Oh, hi, I want to have a meeting with you. Like, can I get on your calendar and just really not seeing my value?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Like, sometimes I have to remember, like, Jasmine, you're being triggered right now. Like, you are important. Like, you can ask for time or space or, you know, so sometimes that's also Teaching your femtee. [00:22:00] What kind of femtorship you need and then alignment, right? Like, do they have the capacity and the bandwidth, you know, to to show up for the things that I need?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And it's okay if they don't. I think that one of the things that my femtors taught me early on is that you need a million centers. Right? You need a bunch of people to be able to go to because everyone can't be everyone for you. And so that's the part that I'm still learning, I would say, is how to be a decolonized femtee.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: How do I unlearn? The things that I've learned about hierarchy and about somebody's you know, I, I fangirl a lot, right? Like, oh, my gosh, that's the president or oh, my gosh, that's the vice president on my campus. And, you know, who am I? And so, you know, sometimes it's really just about, okay, well, how do I want to be perceived?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And how do I create the [00:23:00] experience that lends to that? So, and that's ongoing, girl. I wish there were a book about it. I

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: wish there were. That's a good idea, by the way, because I'm still learning myself. That's why I asked. I'm like, wait. In my own experience, it's been a lot of navigating and initiating difficult conversations for the sake of.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Of, you know, asking for what I need, but when I was when I was, you know, an undergrad, I would have never even thought to have the courage to have these difficult conversations to say here, this is what I need advocating for myself. No, it was like you said, reifying that paradigm of the power dynamics of like, do you have time?

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: If not, it's okay.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Yes, definitely. And then it goes to, so for example. I always make it a point to talk about how I femture to other people who I want femtureship from. Nice. Right? Because we don't know what we don't [00:24:00] know. So let's say for example, my goal would be to get femtureship from you. You know I might tell you about something that happened at work.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: I have this awesome brand new staff member. She's 2 months and and um, I don't know what her experiences were before she got onto the staff, but. Immediately, I don't see things in hierarchy. I see things in here's the role that you have. Here's the role that I have. However, let's color outside of the lines together.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: You know, I don't limit her to just the position. I ask a lot of questions like, you know, she'll want to learn something and I'll look at the clock. I'll say, you know what? I don't have time right right now, but it sounds like that is really something that you want to learn about do you have time at this time like I always want to make sure that she has as much of my time to learn whatever she wants, not even [00:25:00] formulaic or prescribed, if she wants to learn what a director does.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: I'm going to teach her what a director does. It doesn't matter if, if she, her title says office assistant, you know, and that's that part of it, right. Or saying, okay, these are the things that you mentioned that you don't know. Well, would you like to attend a conference? Would you like to attend a training?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Would you like to go meet? So, and so I think as much as you can remove yourself from the equation and give someone direct opportunities to learn where they don't feel like they're indebted to you, they like, you're building an empowering environment. Right? And that's that's the other thing. I tell my staff.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Nobody can be empowered. That isn't something we don't have that power over each other, right? I cannot empower you. You cannot empower me. We can't bestow that on each other, but we can create empowering environments. Right. [00:26:00] We can create environments where no matter what position you have, you can take initiative as long as you're being student centered, or you can learn about every policy.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: It's not a need to know basis. I don't hoard information. I'm not a queen bee. There's access to everything. If somebody Is going to want to know and learn and you're not triggered by it and you're not taking personal, especially if they want to surpass you, right? Like, you want to be a part of that. Like, you want to be excited for people because that's what I would want for myself.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And so that's, you know, right. I would want someone to create an environment where I am just. At my capacity doing not, not overwhelmed, not exhausted, but just creative capacity feeling like, man, I'm making a difference. I have a purposeful calling, you know, and I think that's a big part of femtorship is.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Do we know the calling that our mentees have do can [00:27:00] we set up the relationship where we're always trying to help them to answer whatever question that they have. And then, you know, yeah, I'll pause there.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You said a lot. What stood out to me, though, that kind of was like such a gem, like mind blowing fray or no quote that you said was, I cannot empower you.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: We create empowering spaces together. That stood out to me. A lot. And also just developing spaces where folks can grow much mutually and honor one another's callings. That's also powerful. But I'm thinking about folks who are in environments where they are either femtors, femtees, or, you know, like, Well, like you said, like watching out for the greater good in some way, [00:28:00] shape or form in relationship with others, and they want to decolonize their approach to femtorship to mentorship to supporting others, like what, what are some.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You know, you've already shared some potential strategies, but what are some ways that they might kind of change their approach or that they might better support others without necessarily reifying paradigm? This is really tough. Like, I'm struggling to say this question out loud because as someone who worked in higher ed, there were many instances where I felt limited in my capacity to provide.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Femtorship that honored every single individual within the policies within the like restrictions within the quotas and requirements of all the things that we needed to do to serve our students. So I'm like, how do you do this in a setting that's so hyper colonial that's [00:29:00] so like Neoliberal individualistic, like all the things that's so patriarchal that I, I'm like, I'm wondering, like, what does your day in the life look like in your office?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Well, It's why I've stayed in TRIO for almost a decade, right? That's a huge part of it. Like, that's just me keeping it real. When you are in a TRIO program that was birthed out of the Civil Rights era, that was birthed out of the idea that we all get to go around the board and collect 200 and pass GO, right?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: I think the first part to that is Decolonization should be for everyone, right? If we agree that we're going to use this metaphorically within this system, within this colonial paradigm, the first thing would be, so here's something that like blew my mind, was when I first, when I was in undergrad and in grad school, and I [00:30:00] started to learn about like the tenets of white supremacy, for example, and how does that show up in work, right?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So, perfectionism. I'll use that as one. Perfectionism is a tenant of white Supremacy of of that culture, right? And when I talk about white supremacy, I'm not talking necessarily about white bodied individuals, right? Because we can have a whole other segment on skin folk and Kim folk. But what I mean is if we agree that perfectionism was birthed out of that white supremacist culture, that colonial paradigm that you know and then we agree that that's something that we're going to address on a daily basis.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And we've just started to decolonize the work that we do, right? Because the colonial paradigm says that we need to be perfect. And the colonial paradigm says that we need to be [00:31:00] streamlined and we need to be cookie cutter and we need to be one way, whereas a decolonized lens says, what are you bringing?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And everything that you're bringing is value, but what does your value look like? Not, here's what value looks like, you need it or you don't. What does your value look like? And what does your value look like? And what does your value look like? Because we all have value simply for existing. Like, our value is that we are existing, that we are living, and we are accumulating experiences that can, as we come together in community, can help us to understand.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: That's really what it is. I think, you know the other part to that in decolonizing is. Productivity. Hustle culture, right? Am I a clock watcher? Am I you know, just, just saying that I'm not a clock watcher as a supervisor, right? It gives grace. It gives people [00:32:00] options to just be human, to understand that your ability to be on the dot, on time for the nine to five, like that's not as important to me as otherwise.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Valuing you and allowing your value to blossom, and so I think that decolonizing, if we look at it as this huge, overwhelming, overarching thing, it can feel like it's not attainable, or it's too confusing, but it really just comes down to what feels good, what feels Right, if you have social justice in your heart, immediately when something doesn't feel good, you, you stop and you decide.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: It's a fork in the road every day. Do I want to be complicit in something that doesn't feel good, or do I want to do it differently? Because these institutions are so much about hierarchy, because there's so much about seniority, because there's so much about what have you, right? You get [00:33:00] lost in the bureaucracy.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Sometimes I have to remind people, you wrote the policy, like we have the ability to write policy when we're. born, policy doesn't just exist, like policy should be fluid and we should change things as situation change. And as you know, that's really decolonizing. And so I think that if we start to deconstruct what it means, and if folks are asking, where should I start?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: I think that that's the best place to start, is to say, okay, what are those tenets of white supremacy? What are those colonial things that prevent us from being the collectivist community, that prevent us from seeing value in everybody and their experiences? What are those things? And as you address those things, the summation of those things is that decolonial movement.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: You know, I've seen visuals and I've read about the tenets of white supremacy and I'm reminded [00:34:00] of them all the time and I'm constantly having to like fight to the urge to like, you know, go back into these frameworks like wanting. I'm a recovering perfectionist, for instance, and you're just reminding me that it might be helpful to have a little like poster on the wall just to remind ourselves like to check ourselves because it can be really easy to slip back into it when you're fully immersed in an environment like that.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: But like you said earlier, like just like policies didn't exist out of thin air. You can change them. You can also change kind of your environment. The other thing that comes to mind based on what you said is that you said, okay, well, Decolonization, you know, using it as, as, as a metaphor can be problematic sometimes because it takes away from, you know, the land back movement and also from the importance of highlighting the needs of indigenous folks.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And so I, I, I can't not talk [00:35:00] about decolonization and not also address that support and needs that indigenous students might need. So I'm curious you know, from your perspective and knowledge, how can we also tie that in to our work as well? I know that there's a strong importance in. Kind of quote unquote being culturally aware like that's something that comes up in higher ed, but that's one thing to like learn about it in theory.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: It's another thing to do it in practice. So if, you know, from your perspective, what are some things that femtors can do to better support their indigenous students on their

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: campuses? Thank you. I think that's an important question. I also want to preface my response was saying that even though I have a 1 type of lens of of an indigenous experience because of colonization, my [00:36:00] people are.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Settler colonial, like complicit in that settler colonialism, right, you're displaced off your island because of colonialism. So now we're sharing space, but we are now the colonizer in many senses, right, because you're displaced, you're in a diaspora, but it's not your homeland, right? And so I think that a lot of us and that's going back to, you know, not using decolonization as a metaphor, is there still needs to be acknowledgement that this is unceded territory.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Yeah. And that a lot of BIPOC communities are being displaced. Blast. And so, you know, we become part of the bigger, you know, settler colonial narrative. So I think that that's one thing that, you know, I want to preface is that it becomes pretty complex when you start to look at it in that lens. I think that when you're talking about like the cultural [00:37:00] humility component and how we can understand the cultural humility component, it's.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Making sure that we acknowledge that students, the intersectional piece, right? So, for example, my doctoral coursework focuses on Indigenous Chamorro cultural identity development during college. And so, what do Chamorro students see as their identity entering college? What do they see the role of?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Institutions and institutional agents in that process, right? Because it is well evidenced. That these institutions strip anybody of their cultural individual, like their, their cultural selves, right? We're not teaching everybody's history. And when we are, we're running into, you know, for example, if you're looking [00:38:00] into Pacific, Oceania, diasporic studies um, When you're looking into that realm, you know that colonialism was that big part.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Right. But you're learning your history in what they call fatal impact theory. You're learning your history from a colonial lens. You're learning about the what was lost. We're not spending enough time asking the students who are right here right in front of us. What is your indigenous experience? How can we honor that experience?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: How can we set the stage for you to reclaim your narrative? Are we complicit in teaching things in a fatal impact way? And, and that fatal impact theory is. Learning about all of the downhill, what happened after colonialism, like, how are we asking students, how do they actualize that [00:39:00] indigeneity? How are they like, what does it do for them?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: What, what do they gain out of their cultural practices that, that, that we could potentially tap into to, to support them, right? We talk a lot about parent engagement in higher ed. But are we really trying to get parent engagement? Or are we also trying to acclimate families into this paradigm? Are we really being intentional?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And so what does that look like? Well, what is, what do your cultural practices look like? How can we bring, you know, value to that on campus? You know And a lot of that really is continuing to empower students to reclaim their narratives. Like, like, there's a lot of sayings, you know, nothing about us without us.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Are you meaningfully incorporating The individuals who are directly impacted by [00:40:00] your policy, by your practice, by your implementing of programs, you know we think that we're the experts because we get a few like fancy letters behind our names, but at the end of the day, we only do what we do because somebody is currently experiencing life that way.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And so, it's going to look different depending on what indigenous student you're supporting. It's going to look different based on what they come into. So I'll give you an example. The conceptual framework that I brought in for my dissertation. I bring in the idea of the lattice stone. Right?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So just can

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: you tell the folks that you that can't see the video that are hearing the audio, what you're wearing so that they know.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Yes. So my goddaughter when they found out that I was going to be on your podcast they mailed me some lati earrings. And so the lati is this, you know, megalithic [00:41:00] ancient Chamorro stone.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So if those of you who have heard of like the big heads on Easter Island, you know, there are remnants from pre contact Chamorros. There are a huge symbolic piece to our culture, right? And so in my dissertation, I use that as a means to get my reader to understand what their development looks like, right?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So the Lati has two pieces. The Lati itself is a foundation. For a larger home, dwelling, et cetera, convening space. But the Lati has two pieces. It has the Tasa and it has the Haligi. So technically, this foundation has a foundation within itself, right? So your Haligi, I say, is the pre college identity.[00:42:00]

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So if you're an indigenous person, your pre college identity is so many different things. For example, what is your connection to your indigeneity? What is your daily life practicing, not practicing, right? Because going back to like, not knowing Spanish for myself, right? People are experiencing their own culture at different levels, at different distances, depending on what colonization has done to them.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So, me saying that the foundation To the college identity, the only thing that we as practitioners have any access to, I don't have access to someone's pre college identity. So, for a Chamorro person, right, what is my pre college Chamorro identity look? Well, it depends for Chamorro students. Is my family pro military, not pro military?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Right? On one hand, that is one of the most viable and consistent sources of income [00:43:00] for some folks. For more information, visit www. fema. gov But also, the Navy has taken up 30 percent of the island. We're an active colony, right? So that's huge. What my family believes about the military and patriotism and whether or not we were liberated by the U.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: S., all of that impacts How I view my own indigeneity. Do I speak the language? Do I not speak the language? You know, going back to Wathiongo's cultural bombs. If you're speaking to an indigenous person, there are so many different ways they're experiencing the institution. So the best way, in my opinion, that we can serve students So one of the things that we do as students in a very culturally relevant cultural honoring, cultural humility type of approach is finding out what is their pre college identity, what are the different variables that impact it.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So for example, I work at a college in San Jose. I have some students who are indigenous, [00:44:00] but they're part of non federally recognized tribes. So their experience as an indigenous person is going to be different than their peer who's from a Federally recognized tribe. Why? This person's gonna have access to resources that this person's not, right?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Because now we're getting into like blood quantum and things like that. So I think that as practitioners We always look for what's the quickest way that I can digest this thing. And, and, you know, and, and it's understanding that that's also the colonial paradigm. It is ongoing learning, sometimes making mistakes and just making sure that you do what you can to be in right relation with the student.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: But like I said, when you go back and you look at the, the Lati. They're going to have this huge foundation before you can even influence the TASA before you can even have this reciprocal [00:45:00] relationship where they're learning from the college. They're adding to their identity and you're and you're participating in what the identity looks like and my opinion, anything that we do that can strip a student from their cultural identity.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: We have to address right away, right? Like if we if we are complicit in telling students, whether it's telling them through policy or our operations, if we're telling them that they're at a deficit, specifically because of. Of their indigenous experiences and roots and, you know, just those things, then yeah, we're complicit in that in that paradigm.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So I know that's not the easiest response, but I think it's important for us to know that there is it is not a cookie cutter way to support, you know, students and and, you know, knowing what is happening to their home. Some students are indigenous. And, you know, their land is completely taken away. Some students are indigenous to a location and folks might not [00:46:00] even consider them indigenous.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Right. We have our Taino folks in Puerto Rico. We have our Chamorro folks in Guajan. We have, you know, so we have active colonization happening in real time right now. And so understanding your students. Is important. You can't have an a historical approach to supporting any student, but especially our indigenous students and indigenous students who are indigenous to the land that we're taking up space now or indigenous students that were displaced from their homeland, who are now experiencing indigeneity as a settler.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: You know, colonial participant in this paradigm. That was

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: a lot, but I appreciate that, that you brought in, I know, like your own work, and you know what I really really got from this is that yeah you can't, you can't approach this from a A historical approach unit to understand people's foundation where they [00:47:00] come from and everything that influences the stage that they're at right now.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: And that is not one size fits all. So it's constantly learning. It's constantly learning. So for, for our listeners who are primarily first gen BIPOC students who are listening, who want to keep learning, who want to keep, you know expanding their knowledge on decolonial femtorship. What kind of advice do you have for them, you know, or any other closing words maybe that you have related to this topic, but in particular thinking about the folks who are listening right now?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: I appreciate that you brought back in the first gen focus, right? First gen folks are the best people to be the disruptors. You don't stop being a first gen student when you're a first gen student. Usually, that means you're also going to be a first gen grad student, [00:48:00] right? And then, which means you're also going to be a first gen professional, which means you're also going to be going through the ranks as a first gen director and then a first gen dean and then a first gen.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So I know that that could sound really overwhelming. But really, it's about giving yourself permission to have a disruptor mindset, knowing that because you're first gen, none of this was created for you. So if you're not ready or comfortable to disrupt or agitate, or it's not safe, then there has to be a lot of internal dialogue with yourself.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: In terms of going back to what you said, these institutions don't lend themselves to this work. Right. So sometimes um, something like self preservation can come up. Right. That's a real thing. I'm not going to sit here and say that that's not something that comes up. So, for example, someone could be a [00:49:00] first gen professional and they're in a situation where if they speak up, that could be their job.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Or if they speak up, that could be an opportunity that they lost. And so, I think that Understanding that dismantling this type of culture is difficult because higher ed is doing exactly what it was created to do, right? So when people say, oh, higher ed is not working. Oh, no, it's working. It's working. If you understand the foundation, it is a colonial foundation.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So going back to not using decolonizing as a metaphor, right? There are philosophers and practitioners that I, like, I'm hardcore about but they'll believe like there's no such thing as decolonizing like that's cute. But now, you know, and so I have a hard time with that because it affects my day to day.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Would it be easier if we burn it all down and start over? Of course. [00:50:00] But, but I guess where I, where I tell first gen folks is, you know, one that it is hard, you're not ready or you don't have the safety to be a disruptor or an agitator. Find your people, learn what you can and give yourself a lot of grace because there are going to be times where you might want to speak up and it doesn't feel safe.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And I think that, I could never tell somebody what they should or shouldn't do if they decide in that moment that it's just not safe. And I would say, let's, let's work on that. Let's work on Let's work on how we can disrupt and agitate because it's necessary for this work, but in ways that give us the longevity to be here, right?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: We want to be here long enough to go through these ranks and change things from the inside out. But also know that there's a lot of people out there making changes in different industries and in different ways and policy. We're all doing our part. [00:51:00] That's the other part that I would tell a practitioner is it takes all of us.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: You know, so even if you feel like what you're doing isn't a lot, like I said, the summation of all the things that you're doing, the way that you can influence other people to approach their work in the same way, like all of that matters, all of that, you know, becomes part of the bigger overthrow of this.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: Stuff. And I guess the last thing that I will say for first gen folks is when they talk about breaking generational curses, it's not just happening at home. It's happening in the fields that we're in and higher education is just one of those fields. First gen folks are disrupting and agitating politics and the police force.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And psychiatrists and the health and, you know, it's happening in so many places. And so I think it's important for folks to know that find your safety, find your networks, find your safety, find [00:52:00] folks who have been the disruptors and the agitators and learn from their experiences and mistakes.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: And, you know, Teach each other how to maneuver and and be good femtors. And, you know, I love that

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: you said that that everything that we do matters, no matter how big or how small it is, including us having this conversation today, who knows what it might bring about in folks who listen and who, you know, maybe didn't feel safe enough to do something in one way, but they know they can take a small step in another way.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: So I appreciate you for sharing everything that you've shared. And I'm, I'm curious for the folks that want to keep this conversation going or who want to connect with you, who want to reach out is what's the best way for them to find you or reach you or connect with you?

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So, yeah, I'm on Instagram.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: I, my handle is streetwise doctora, although I will have a caveat I'm in the midst. [00:53:00] of getting my, like I said, I'm a doctoral candidate, but we can manifest big things. So Instagram I also do trainings. I'm a consultant for study smart tutors. And so if you have curriculum that you want me to help build with you, or, you know, just do anything like that.

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: So there is like the business piece to it, but at the end of the day, if it's just femtorship and building on this network, I would say Insta connect probably a good way. And then Yeah, find me at a TRIO conference, you know, find me wherever you can find me. And I'd love to continue that conversation and that work whether it's you and your network or, or really anyone else, because I think it's important that we continue to grow these approaches and, and this, you know, way of, of, of knowing and being and doing.

Dra. Yvette Martinez-Vu: Thank you so much, JT, for sharing a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, gems with us today. I really appreciate

Jasmine Marie Mageno Torres: you. Aw, thanks for having me. I'm so excited and I [00:54:00] can't wait to promote this episode.

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