Jessica P. Cerdeña, Ph.D.

medical anthropologist, physician-in-training

Pressing Onward: The Imperative Resilience of Latina Migrant Mothers

Available for Preorder:
Discount code SAVE30

About the Book

Pressing Onward centers the stories of mothers who migrated from Latin America, settled in New Haven, Connecticut, and overcame trauma and ongoing adversity to build futures for their children. These migrant mothers enact imperative resilience, engaging cognitive and social strategies to resist racial, economic, and gender-based oppression to seguir adelante, or press onward. Both a contemporary view of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on racially minoritized populations and a timeless account of the ways immigration enforcement and healthcare inequality affect migrant mothers, Pressing Onward uses ethnography to tell a greater story of persistence amid long-standing structural violence.


Pressing Onward is a stunning book, taking well-studied themes and presenting a fresh, relevant, and innovative take. It is unique in several ways, managing to address many of the core themes related to Latinx populations in the United States. Really, really impressive.”
—Alyshia Gálvez, Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies and Anthropology at Lehman College

“Beautifully conceived and organized, Pressing Onward focuses on the resilient ways Latinx women have overcome adversity during a global pandemic and in doing so have supported their families, social relationships, and socio-spiritual selves.”
—Emily Mendenhall, author of Unmasked: COVID, Community, and the Case of Okoboji

“Jessica Cerdeña rethinks resilience as a form of resistance to oppression and inequity. The mothers whom she works alongside are blamed for the social and health inequities that affect them, but they actively press onward.”
—Seth M. Holmes, Chancellor’s Professor in the University of California, Berkeley, Division of Society and Environment, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management


Pressing Onward book trailer (English)
Pressing Onward book trailer (Spanish)

Interested in a Book Talk?

Pressing Onward speaks to medical anthropology, sociology, race, ethnicity, and migration studies, gender studies, Latinx studies, medicine, public health, and policy. If you would like for me to speak at your institution or class, please contact me at