By Ismail Ali
Cura is a feature length documentary in progress that tells the story of Yolanda and Donny, a mother and son who break cycles of addiction and violence in the face of impossible odds. Their story illuminates both the spiritual and communal aspects of healing from trauma, as well as the stark socioeconomic realities that often prevent it for many marginalized people.
Yolanda and her sons all grew up in southern California’s Inland Empire, amidst fear of family violence, the spectre of raids by law enforcement, and constant financial instability. Growing up with parents who used and sold heroin throughout her childhood, Yolanda herself developed a regular meth habit at age 16. Years later, her sons began using meth at younger ages than she did.
Over a decade ago, Yolanda moved to the California Bay Area to get away from her toxic environment. When her sons joined her there, they had both already been in and out of juvenile detention and prison, struggling to navigate a world that criminalizes trauma and many of the mechanisms people use to cope with it.