Washougal Art & Music Festival

Surviving Trauma: IYF series, Part 4

In the newest edition of the –Ism Youth Files podcasts, host Danica Leung and other young artists talk about the challenges of overcoming traumatic circumstances in their lives.


Stage & Studio debuts the fourth and most personal episode of MediaRites‘ five-part documentary series of interviews and creative writing by and with 20 young artists and writers. This week we feature “Surviving Trauma,” which tells the inspiring stories of two young woman who talk of their traumatic experiences and how mental health therapy helped them to survive.

“And though I say I’m doing good, like I’m physically and mentally well, I point out that no matter how I feel, I kind of always have to say I’m doing good. It’s as if we’re not allowed to be suffering and to not be well in our society. Which begs the question I ask in the next scene to a therapist. How do I know when I’m better?” – writer and host Danica Leung

Isabella Santana.
KyLynn Hattie Lucio.

On “Surviving Trauma,” host Danica Leung opens with her own journey of mental health therapy as she features interviews with Isabella Santana in Torrence, Calif.. whose disordered eating led to serious depression and suicidal attempts, and KyLynn Hattie Lucio in Lower Sioux Reservation in Minnesota, who shares her recovery from sexual assault.


Life will get hard again. I know that. This time, however. Instead of staying stuck in my hell. I will rise. I will learn to love life again, and I will live.
– “More Than a Joke,” by Isabella Santana


I’m so happy they left me. I would have never left them because I never knew how horrible I let them treat me. It was so bad that I had so much insecurities and loss of self worth. I doubted myself so much while being surrounded by these bad influences. I’m so happy that they are gone. I’m so happy with my life without them. They love to bring up the past and that’s how I know that I’m the mature and bigger person. I am able to understand experiences and learn from them. I genuinely do learn from these life lessons and I am grateful to be. 
– “Zitkala Sa Winyan,” by KyLynn Hattie Lucio


Washougal Art & Music Festival


Content Advisory: This episode contains real-life experiences of youth talking about mental health challenges such as eating disorders, suicide, racism trauma and sexual violence which might be disturbing to listeners.


All episodes feature music by Tomo Singh in Boston, Mass. Podcast is appropriate for ages 14 and up. A content warning begins each episode for listeners. Podcast episodes will conclude on Friday, October 13th, on Stage & Studio on ArtsWatch.

MediaRites, a Portland nonprofit led by Executive Producer Dmae Lo Roberts, created the series Speaking Our Truths: The –Ism Youth Files (IYF). This is a culmination of a two-year book and podcast project detailing the effects of the pandemic on youth mental health. This series of half-hour episodes features interviews with 20 youth artists and writers who submitted work and were chosen to be a part of The -Ism Youth Files project.

Their work (which includes essays, poems, graphic novels, and artwork) is now available as an anthology book available in paperback or ebook form on Amazon.  We listen to them describe the trials they have overcome, including a global pandemic, and how various factors have impacted their mental health and wellness and how they have overcome to flourish now.

For more information about the project, the published book or ebook, or to download a free youth mental health toolkit, visit MediaRites.org.


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The –Ism Youth files book and podcast project was produced by Dmae Lo Roberts with Amanda Anderson and Samson Syharath. Literary works editor was Sandra de Helen and the mental health consultant is Dr. Eleanor Gil-Kashiwabara of Luminosa Psychological Services. The episodes were mixed and mastered by Clark Salisbury.

Listen to episode one here.

Listen to episode two here.

Listen to episode three here.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Dmae Roberts is a two-time Peabody winning radio producer, writer and theatre artist. Her work is often autobiographical and cross-cultural and informed by her biracial identity. Her Peabody award-winning documentary Mei Mei, a Daughter’s Song is a harrowing account of her mother’s childhood in Taiwan during WWII. She adapted this radio documentary into a film. She won a second Peabody-award for her eight-hour Crossing East documentary, the first Asian American history series on public radio. She received the Dr. Suzanne Ahn Civil Rights and Social Justice award from the Asian American Journalists Association and was selected as a United States Artists (USA) Fellow. Her stage plays and essays have been published in numerous publications. She published her memoir The Letting Go Trilogies: Stories of a Mixed-Race Family in 2016. As a theatre artist, she has won two Drammys, one for her acting and one for her play Picasso In The Back Seat which also won the Oregon Book Award. Her plays have been produced in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, NYC and Florida. Roberts is the executive producer of MediaRites, a nonprofit multicultural production organization and co-founder of Theatre Diaspora, an Asian American/Pacific Islander non-profit theatre that started as a project of MediaRites. She created the Crossing East Archive of more than 200 hours of broadcast-quality, pan-AAPI interviews and oral histories. For 23 years, Roberts volunteered to host and produce Stage & Studio live on KBOO radio. In 2009, she started the podcast on StagenStudio.com, which continues at ArtsWatch.


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