Diaspora & Immigration Series

Episode 23: Traces of Home

Filmmaker Colette Ghunim on her first feature-length documentary: “Traces of Home tells the story of what happens when we as first-generation Americans go back to our roots to find out how where we come from shapes our identity. Through Traces of Home, I am telling my own personal story. I’m half Mexican and half Palestinian and both my parents were forced to leave their homes as children, and they both never returned since then. So through my film, we’re going back to Mexico and Palestine to try to find the original houses and to talk about why people are leaving and immigrating and why refugees are leaving as well, during a time when we need to hear it the most.” […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Cruzando Fronteras / Crossing Borders

Why would anyone want to take on the treacherous task of crossing (multiple) borders? Poets Alondra Adame, Eva Gonzalez, Gustavo Martir, David Cruz, and Diana Castellanos share their personal stories on crossing borders and immigration during “Cruzando Fronteras,” an event that provided a safe space to talk about the seeking of refuge. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Flood

Remembering the pakhlava her Armenian medzmama used to make, a granddaughter ponders the miracle of this bit of ancestral wisdom dipped in syrup enduring her own family flood. Pluck, a certain string of nucleic acid bases and the myth of Noah’s Ark collide in this stitched-together story of survival. […]

Creative Nonfiction

Origin Story

“Origin Story” is a short memoir that spans from my birth in Iran to my present day living in Spain, focusing on key moments that shaped my understanding of my own status as an immigrant. My story is an evolution; from victimization and self-hatred, to fighting angrily and finally to acceptance. […]

Creative Nonfiction

The Space In Between

Food is tied to cultural identity, both of the land I left behind and of the land I found. I am outside the love of pumpkin pie, a common Canadian dessert, and I am outside the love of durian, a common Vietnamese delicacy. I exist in the space in between these two cultures as no amount of food, no matter its origins, may fulfill the ache deep within, the ache of otherness. […]

Being Latina/o/x Series

Snapshot: A Hyphenated Coexistence

My grandmother from Peru remarried at 81 to Don from Dayton, Ohio. She didn’t speak English and Don doesn’t speak Spanish, but they managed to find their own language. Together, they created a unique American love story, far from the life she left behind in Lima. […]

Diaspora & Immigration Series

Episode 8: The Elusive Burmese from Liminal Space

We take you into the world of a Burmese woman’s quest to piece together the fragments of her identity as Su Su Maung. We also learn about how that quest led her to found the Myanmar-based psychological consulting firm, Citta Consultancy. Citta helps empower the people of Myanmar with social and emotional intelligence so they can heal, transform, and grow to reach their fullest potential and contribute to the development of their country. […]

Salvator Rosa, "Three Figures Around a Globe," 1615–73.
Being Mixed-Race Series

Episode 5: Transracial Adoption

We continue our episode 3 discussion on mixed-race families by digging into transracial adoption. Nicole Zelniker—whose book, Mixed, was the focus of that episode—joins me to interview Leah Whetten-Goldstein about her experience being adopted from China into a white, Jewish family in North Carolina. We discuss side-effects, critiques, misunderstandings, and assumptions surrounding transracial adoption, as well as the beauty of being in a mixed-race family. We get a glimpse into Whetten-Goldstein’s struggle to find an identity growing up in a predominantly white community as an adoptee, and she shares the wisdom she’s gathered along the way. […]

Sakai Hōitsu, "Blossoming Cherry Trees," pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper; ca. 1805. Mary Griggs Burke Collection. Gift of the Mary Jackson Burke Foundation, 2015. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Being Mixed-Race Series

“I Guess I’m More Japanese Than You”

Nicole Zelniker’s book, Mixed, is a work of journalism about mixed-race families and their shifting identities. In this chapter from the book, Zelniker interviews Lynda Gomi, who is white, and Kazu Gomi, who is Japanese. They have lived in both the US and Japan and both believe that their cultures are a much bigger difference between them than the color of their skin. […]

Lafayette Maynard Dixon, "Sunset Magazine: September," lithograph, 1904, purchase, Leonard A. Lauder Gift, 2015, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Diaspora & Immigration Series

A Guide to Parenting

*WINNER OF THE NASIONA NONFICTION POETRY PRIZE, 2019*

I hope you don’t look Asian
like me.
I don’t want anyone, boy or girl,
reducing you to some Oriental fetish.

You will never know
your grandparents on my side.
I hope you will never know the hunger
that comes with such loneliness. […]