What does being a Latina mean to you?:
It means embracing and being proud of my culture and traditions, having strong family values
Share a struggle you have faced being a Latina.:
Growing up in California I was mostly surrounded by Latinos and never really noticed what being a minority was - because I wasn’t. Then as soon as I moved to the suburbs of Illinois in a majority white community, I finally felt like I stood out. For people like me who struggled with the idea of standing out by things I couldn’t choose, it was uncomfortable. I felt as if I had to catch up and assimilate just to feel “normal”.
Share something you love about being a Latina?:
I love my culture, our traditions and food
What do you identify as? (Puerto Rican, Mexican, Salvadorian, etc.): Mexican
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. (Share only what you are comfortable with):
I was born in Mexico and was taken across the border by my parents when I was only 1. I never felt like an immigrant or understood what being an immigrant was until I was faced with becoming a resident. I was so young when I came to the states. Years later, I was fortunate enough to become a citizen of this country. It was one of the proudest moments, which was also met with a bit of sadness because I realized how precious and delicate this imaginary title was. The title of "Citizenship" seems imaginary, but the consequences of being an “illegal” immigrant are very real. I’m grateful and the climate today, has only made me more cognizant of it.
How have you been able to celebrate and honor your american nationality, while embracing your heritage and culture?:
I celebrate both Latino and American holidays. I celebrate Halloween but I also celebrate Dia de Los Muertos.
Do you speak spanish?: Yes, fluently.
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!:
Personally, I haven’t experienced it. But it still cuts me deep because my little sister is a completely different darker shade than me and growing up people would always point that out. Seeing your little sister trying to wash the color off her skin as a little girl because she thought it was “dirt” or wondering why she is always identified by our own culture as “dark” broke my heart. She wanted my skin color because I was lighter. As her older sister, I would teach her that she was beautiful no matter what people had to say. As she got older she learned to embrace and love herself completely. It hurts to know that we have that standard, and I know it happens outside of the U.S. and Mexico. It’s a fundamentally wrong categorization process we have and it can be changed.