What does being a Latina mean to you?

It means experiencing family in a deep and profound way. It means feeling connected to the ground where your grandmother walked. It means meals are more about bonding than anything. It is more than being exotic. It’s about not feeling like who the world says you are and having no hair on your tongue when it’s time to explain that.

Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.

This is petty but, white women constantly asking to touch my hair. But on a deeper note: as a Christian young woman and leader, at a church that says they believe in my right to lead, IT IS DIFFICULT to be given chances. Not because I’m a woman but because the culture of Latino men, is what it is. Being a Latina teacher and preacher isn’t hard for me. It’s hard for my male counterparts.

Share something you love about being a Latina?

My body. All of it. The shape, my Afro-Latina curls. I love it. Not because it fits some mold, Not because it’s trendy right now, but because I look like my mother and my grandmother and my aunt. (My Titi Niome, who you photographed before she passed!). That’s what being a Latina means to me, to feel connected and see myself in the generations before me.

What do you identify as? Puerto Rican and Cuban

Where you born in the states? If not, could you share what your experience has been being an immigrant, and the process of becoming a US citizen, resident, etc. Yes.

How have you been able to celebrate and honor your American nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?

Making friends. Community has been everything. Tasting arroz con gandules my mom’s way then my buddies aunt’s way, then my madrina’s way. That includes my mexican friends, my peruvian friend, my mixed friend and my girl from El Salvador. That diversity exists because we live here, that culture, around the table exists because of who we are.

Do you speak Spanish?

Sort of...I understand more than speak.

Have you experienced colorism, or not being fully accepted by your community? Like you're too dark, or too white, etc. Please share anything you'd like to share!

I used to work in luxury retail in a basically all-white suburb. On more than one occasion, women made very clear that they’d rather work with my white associates. Even though I was the manager. They’d explain, “She’d probably understand what I want.”