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Why I Believe in this Space
If I don’t define myself, I risk the world defining me. Walking into certain rooms, I’m sized up, analyzed, dissected, rejected, or tolerated. Walking into other rooms, where the sounds of salsa and the smell of frijoles permeate the air, I’m often welcomed or celebrated.
The blood coursing through my veins is a world of its own, a multidimensional world. The building blocks that formed me are Portuguese, Spanish, African, Indigenous, and Jewish. Generations of so-called conquerors mixed with the blood of those who were conquered. In me lives a lineage filled with tension and contradiction. It’s a story of enslaved people and enslavers.
To be Latino, Latinx, Latine, Hispanic, whatever your preferred term may be, is to accept the complex history of my ancestry. My Latinidad is that and much more.
If I don’t tell my story, I run the risk of the world telling it for me. And the world’s story of me is often tainted with a hue of colorism. There’s often the suspicion that I’m taking someone else’s job and that I’m simultaneously lazy. Go figure. There’s usually the leery raised eyebrow closely watching me, lest I become a conqueror, or I mean, an invader.
This platform is a space where I can define myself, and where we get to tell our stories. Collectively, we have so much power, more than we realize. Together, we are an unstoppable force. Juntos, we can make our voices heard in English and Español.
Having a digital space like this one is a step toward reclaiming our rightful place in society. We are here. We are not going anywhere. We are not a monolith, but we are not that different. There is more that unites us than meets the eye, especially in this permanent diaspora, in this Moses-less exodus. First-generation or fourth-generation, whether you are bilingual or your parents never taught you the mother tongue, you belong here.
Latinidad is an affront to the gatekeepers, and I’m proud of that. Our aim with this publication is to remove the barriers and to speak frankly and clearly about our issues, needs and dreams.
I hope you can join us. I’ll make the cafecito.