As a young Latina, growing up in Queens sometimes made me feel as I walked out the doors of my home I put a part of myself in my back pocket. Most Latinos/a migrated to the United States before there kids were born or while there kids were still to young to really remember much about their native culture. My parents migrated to the United States in the 1980s from Dominican Republic. Growing up I spoke only Spanish at home, but outside I would speak English. It was easy to feel culturally invisible. I felt like two different people, harboring Spanish for just the place I called home. I asked myself many times, where did I come from? Am I American or Latina?. Living in Queens had a big impact on the way I perceived things. I dressed like everyone else, talked like everyone else. When the latest video games came out I wanted it, when new sneakers lined the windows of stores I needed it. I found myself wanting whatever might make me feel more American. Little by little I was forgetting about my Latin roots. I was oppressing a part of myself that I knew existed, I just did not know how to exude it. As i got older I learned to embrace my Latina heritage and appreciate where I came from. Yes I am American, but I am first a Latina.
YOUNG VOICES: I am Latina