SO, I did a thing y’all! I started a podcast! You have no idea how exciting this is to me, even though it is quite a bit off the “financial planning” path.
I studied Comparative Literature in college, which is basically analyzing the literature, cinematography, and music of a particular time period or culture. My focus was on post-colonial African and Latino literature. I had always been a big reader, but college was the first time I realized that I hadn’t been consuming many books or movies that represented anyone like me. I craved to see myself reflected in a novel’s protagonist and began to seek more and more Latinx, African, and immigrant stories. My eyes were opened and I realized how important it was for the little black and brown kids to see themselves reflected in the mainstream.
I went about my life pursuing my financial planning career, and raising a family. Fast forward to 2016, and the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the current president really got to me. I would hear him say all of these horrible things about Latinos, about Muslims, about African countries, etc. and shook my head in horror and disbelief. Every negative comment chipped away at my feeling of belonging or being accepted as American. My parents and my in-laws are immigrants and productive, honest members of society. My fellow first-generation friends/family were all killing it as educated, successful members of society. None of whom would be here to contribute if it weren’t for our parents, these unwanted immigrants he maligned so easily.
Did he and his supporters think this was easy for us? Were our versions of America really less valuable than mainstream? Was my jollof rice at Thanksgiving a sign that I was less welcome or authentic? I was just a first-generation American trying my best to figure out where I fit in this country- is it OKAY to wear my Ankara dress to work? Should I teach my kids Spanish? Is my kid’s name too ethnic?
I figured I couldn’t be alone in asking myself these questions. Instead of quietly doubting my belonging, I decided to create a safe space for those of us who don’t fit neatly into a mold to talk about our experiences, how we’re navigating between cultures, and what it means to be a first-generation American. If there’s one thing I want my listeners to get out of this, it’s that YOU are just as American as all-American Johnny. You are valuable, and I see you out there figuring it all out with grace. You and your parents, your abuelitas and aunties are what makes me so proud to be an American and continue to rep this country hard.
I hope you’ll tune in. Click here to check it out.