29; vegan 3 years; hometown Whittier, CA
"I didn't start traveling until I was well into my adult years, because growing up there was this fear that anywhere you went, ICE or whatever would be there and we could have our family torn apart. So there was that home fear that was a constant, and going to school there was a constant fear that I was never going to be enough. My mother is illiterate and my father has his own challenges, so it was really challenging being at school, and all I knew was assimilation. That was the only way I knew that I could survive in this world.
It wasn't until I got to college that I learned about acculturation, staying true to those roots, honoring them, and also figuring out how to navigate the dominant culture that I'm obviously not a part of.
I actually walk around with my passport in my pocket. To me that's a big statement because it's one of the biggest privileges that I have, is having a passport. It makes me aware that I came from an immigrant family. It makes me aware that this is a privilege that I was born into and that nothing else granted me that. It just happened to be that I was born across an imaginary line.
My sister was born in Mexico, so she immigrated when she was one. I'm really aware in talking to her and having her in my life that I have grown up with certain privileges. I feel like she has always stayed more true to our origins because she was forced to legally, and here I am just trying to honor it in whatever way I can while still being cognizant of the fact that I am other."
Photo by Holly Feral