Brianna Nikole Palenzuela,
Race is a social construct created by society. Genetically there is only one human race. But you know what is real? That wasn’t just created to point out differences? Culture – The traditions and values that you grew up with and that grows with you as you age and have more experiences. Love – Humans were made to love, we all care about at least one person and want to help others. We get hurt, and we heal, but in the end, we all love someone, whether that be platonically, romantically, familially, or abstractly We all love. Hope- Sometimes hope is the only thing that keeps us going. Its what pushed my Tia Biciki and Tia Elle to do their best to get permission to study abroad so that they could escape. What pushed my cousins (or I should say dad’s cousins) Mariela and Ani (Anita) to come to this country with my Tia Andrea acting on their dad’s last wish. What pushed my dad to follow through when he was 24 and won in the visa lottery. To follow through with the dream, he had held on to his entire life. That caused my Abuela Nydia and Abuelo Raphelito to immigrate over when I was 8. That drove my Tia Alida to immigrate here with her kids (Abel & Adel) last spring after years of trying to gain access. What is currently driving my Tia Barbara to consider immigrating here. It’s the hope for a better day, a better life, of safety. Its what pulls me through my panic attacks and my darkest days just as it has for so many others before me. Hope is hope. It is something older and more powerful than love itself. For it is what breeds love and happiness in the first place.
I’m the daughter of a Cuban immigrant, and my mom was born in Puerto Rico with many generations of their family on each side firmly rooted in that history. On my mom’s side, we’re also part German-Jewish, Irish, and Icelandic. On my dad’s side, we think we might have some Italian and Greek as well due to old family names and traditions. On both sides of the family, we can trace our roots directly back to Spain. My last name is the name of a town in Spain for goodness’ sake. I was raised here in Florida surrounded by and growing up with people from a plethora of different backgrounds and races. And this has taught me that people are just people. And while the culture they were raised in might affect them, it doesn’t have the same effect on everyone. In the end, we are just a bunch of humans, communicating and miscommunicating, loving, hoping, and surviving no matter what.