3 First Gen Sisters On Culture, Acceptance, And Self-Identity

By Melki Blanco and Sri Taylor

Melki (22) and her two sisters Natalie (27) and Daniella (20) are the products of Hispanic/Latinx immigrant parents — a Salvadorian mother and a Dominican father. This made the path to self-discovery growing up a little unclear, and they relied on each other to overcome the obstacle of finding the balance between two cultures and identities in the US.

Natalie

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Melki

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Daniella

Even Dani, the youngest of the three girls, could feel the societal implications of being a 1st generation immigrant before she could really understand the concept herself.

“I felt different from the other kids when I would look at everything my friends had and realize that I didn’t have that.”

“We had to grow up fast and start working ASAP because we were not financially stable. We all had to step up and help our parents at such a young age.”

Identity

Q: Was it difficult to fit in? Where did feel comfortable and most yourself?

Melki: “Sometimes, aside from with our family, I felt like a foreigner in my parent’s home countries. The language barrier made things pretty difficult at times. But, I always felt most comfortable at home with my family, because we all have this shared multicultural experience.”

Q: How have you overcome these challenges? What have you learned about yourself in this process?

Dani: “Finding a group of people that have had similar experiences at school and finding comfort within them. Through this, I have learned to take pride in being first generation and be grateful for the opportunities we’ve been given by our parents.”

Learning to Love Your Culture

Q: What’s your favorite part about being a first generation American?

Melki: “Being bilingual is definitely a perk. Just being able to navigate both cultures in general.”

Q: What do you love most about your culture?

Dani: “There’s an authenticity in our culture that is unique. It’s where our mother came from! She taught us everything she knew, and gained her work ethic from her Hispanic culture. She made me love my culture and where we’re from.”

Acceptance

Q: How have you come to accept your culture/ethnicity throughout the years?

“Through love. Although rejecting your culture and who you are as a first generation immigrant is just a growing pain, you eventually learn to love yourself and your differences, and it changes your perspective on your own identity. Self-love changes it from a negative thing to almost like a kudos.”