In her memoir, Space Between the Stars: My Journey to an Open Heart, Deborah Santana reflects back on the passage of time and experience that have forged her soul, spirit, and intellect, and looks forward with a vision of growth, renewal, and liberation. Mark Bryan, co-author of The Artist’s Way at Work, has said that Ms. Santana’s memoir sheds light on, “the power of the human spirit to prevail over the shadows of the human mind.”
Ultimately, Deborah Santana delivers a universal message about seeking one’s own unique voice and place in the world. She explores issues of faith, spirituality, race, sexuality, love, marriage, motherhood and womanhood. She examines the practice of writing itself, and shares her ongoing quest to believe in and express her best self—and, in doing so, to love and serve humanity.
In this very personal telling of her individual metamorphosis, Santana also paints a dramatic picture of a shifting America, a culture in profound transition. Acclaimed author Natalie Goldberg said of Space Between the Stars, “Beautifully written, full of fine detail, it breaks illusions about gurus, rock stars, and stereotypes about race. This is a dynamic memoir of an extraordinary woman’s life. I fell in love with the people who raised her, with the old streets of California and with the hard, aching, real tests of becoming a mature, compassionate human being.”
Born in San Francisco, California in the 1950s, Deborah Santana grew up in a biracial family. Her father, pioneering African-American blues guitarist and singer Saunders King, and her mother, independent Irish/British-American career woman Jo Frances King, married before interracial unions were legal in many states—and at a time when wives were not expected to work outside the home. Raised household where it was believed all dreams were possible, Deborah came of age listening to the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the songs of Mahalia Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong. She developed her sense of equality and social justice within this context of great and historic change.
The love and fortitude that Ms. Santana absorbed from her family provided a core of strength going forward, as she continued on her life’s path and built her own family. Following a move to Los Angeles for college, and a subsequent--and tumultuous—early personal relationship, Ms. Santana moved back to San Francisco in the early 1970s. She met musician Carlos Santana at a Tower of Power concert at the Marin Civic Center; they were married 34 years and have three children together. Through joy, heartbreak and transcendence, Space Between the Stars recounts much of their life journey together.
Ms. Santana’s emergence as a successful entrepreneur also dates back to the early ‘70s. At the age of twenty-two, she owned and managed a thriving vegetarian restaurant in the heart of San Francisco. In 1994, she and Carlos assumed the management of the Santana Band. In 1998, Ms. Santana and her former husband established the Milagro Foundation, a nonprofit organization serving children and youth in the areas of health, education and the arts.
· 2000 - UCLA César E. Chávez Spirit Award in recognition of her philanthropic work.
· 2004, she received a Women of Distinction Award from the Founder Region Soroptimist International of the Americas for her outstanding achievements in business and leadership.
· 2006 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award in Marin County
· 2007 - Marin County Women's Hall of Fame
· 2007 - 2008 - Mills College Distinguished Achievement Award
In 2008, Ms. Santana founded Do A Little, a non-profit that serves women and girls in the areas of health, education and happiness. Ms. Santana has produced two documentary films with Emmy-award winning director Barbara Rick: Road to Ingwavuma. and Girls of Daraja., each film depicting the collaborative work of non-profit partners in South Africa and Kenya. She offers her writing and work so that others may perceive life as a walk towards compassion and love for others and self. “The main goal for me is transformation,” she says. “Life experiences affect us all, and we make choices. Sometimes those choices are fabulous and sometimes they give us painful lessons. But we can grow to be strong, beautiful people who have love at the core of our beings.”
Ms. Santana is currently writing a second memoir and pursuing a Master’s Degree in Women’s Spirituality.
Toni Morrison – “I have an ongoing interest in outlaw women. They can be wild or they can be ordinary women who learn something fresh.”
Brenda Ueland – “I have a kind of mystical notion. I think it is only by expressing all that is inside that purer and purer streams come. It is so in writing…Pour out the dull things on paper too – you can tear them up afterward – for only then do the bright ones come. If you hold back the dull things, you are certain to hold back what is clear and beautiful and true and lively…”
Martha Beck – “Birthdays and death days. Both remind us how little power we have. Both present us with infinite opportunities to either love or fear. To the extent that we choose love, the puniness of our material power is replaced by a power that comes not from us but through us.”
Alice Walker – “expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise…”
Natalie Goldberg – "We just have to step forward with our hearts and act. That’s also the best place to come from as a writer.”
Daraja Academy, Kenya - www.Daraja-Academy.org
Youth Speaks -...
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