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Learning From My Mistakes

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On my first day of elementary school, my mother dressed me and gave me a warning. “Be careful who you hang out with. Especially brown and Black people. They’re not known for good things. They do bad things in the streets.” “Like what?” I asked. “Stealing, killing, and all kinds of bad stuff. But you […]

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My Thick Accent Doesn’t Define Me

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When I moved here four years ago from Santo Domingo, I did not speak any English. The advice people gave me was: listen to music in English, watch TV in English, or download Duolingo. I did not like any of these methods; I hate watching television, I hated listening to music in a language that […]

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A Family’s Portrait

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One of my earliest memories is of my father sitting me down at our kitchen table with canvases, paint, and brushes. He taught me how to blend colors and use different materials like acrylic paint and watercolors. Whenever we felt inspired, we set out all our materials and painted what our hearts desired. My favorite […]

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Why Do I Have to Change How I Talk to Sound ‘Professional’?

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The first time I realized I was code-switching, I was making an appointment over the phone to get eyelash extensions. I was in the living room on the couch with my 14-year-old niece. My voice became higher, more gentle. I also purposely avoided saying certain words that would emphasize my New York accent such as […]

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