Category Archives: STORIES

An Artist Exploring Her Guatemalan Roots

              Evelyn was born in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala during the time of civil war. As a child, her mother stayed at home with the family and her father worked for someone trading Guatemalan currency into USD, often traveling to the Mexican border for work. Soon, however, word got out in her town of her father’s ... Read More »

Eleven Year-Old Sweatshop Worker (Russia)

                Lena Solomon, née Hurwitz, was Russian and Jewish, and was born in 1902 in the Russian city of Pskov. Although age was rarely discussed and remained mysterious within their family, it is speculated that she must have been the third youngest sister of eight sisters who survived through infancy. Various circumstances led ... Read More »

A 15 Year Old Makes Her Passage By Boat (Vietnam)

              It was a spring afternoon in 1985. I had turned fifteen a few of months earlier and I had just entered the house after a day at high school. Food was on my mind; I’d skipped breakfast as usual. Mom was sitting on the bed in the corner, whispering to a woman I’d ... Read More »

Mayra’s Story – Environmentalist Thanks to Great Grandmother (Mexico)

            Mayra Pelagio was one of the storytellers during Welcome Week in San Jose. Her story begins in a village of 800 in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. Surrounded by nature and unpaved roads, streams and birds, Mayra pursued environmental studies in the US. Currently she works for an immigrant rights agency. Read More »

Vietnamese Refugee Parents and 2nd Generation Identity

              Tracy Nguyen was born and raised in San Jose. Growing up with refugee parents from Vietnam largely defines who she is today: a driven community organizer with a creative, entrepreneurial spirit. Tracy received a B.A. in Media Studies and Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. Tracy’s story grapples with the meaning of the war ... Read More »

An Artist From Iran Takes Her Shot in the US

            Sameh Khalatbari is a San Francisco Bay Area based Artist, born in Tehran Iran in January 1980.  Sameh is a Contemporary Surrealist painter, teacher and entrepreneur.   Her art reveals her life experience and thoughts often incorporating familiar Persian traditional symbols. Here she tells the story of why she decided to stay in the US as ... Read More »

Educated & Independent (India)

My mother, Vinaya Kavathekar, grew up in Pune, India. Unlike my own experience growing up in America, her culture and the traditional values of India were instilled into almost every part of her daily life. Yet, she had surprisingly little attachment to them. Vinaya always resented the way she saw women treated where she came from, despising the way she ... Read More »

The Long Reach of Cambodia’s Tragic Killing Fields

Tiffany Tran tells a painful and riveting story with its roots in the “killing fields” of Cambodia under Pol Pot’s rule when millions of people were murdered. Her parents somehow survived the genocide and made it to the US. Tiffany speaks of being embarrassed of them as uneducated immigrants when she was growing up. Not until she grew up and ... Read More »

A Perilous Journey, Hard Work, and a Better Life (México)

I was determined that I would make a better life for my family, even if I had to risk my life. I come from a large, hard working family. By Mexican standards we were comfortable, but that comfort came with the price of constant hard work. We lived under the rule of a corrupt president, who took more and more ... Read More »

Never Too Old for the American Dream (México)

“The main key to being successful as an immigrant is saving up as much money as you can and that will be the most useful thing in your life as an immigrant.” My parents made sure that that idea was stuck in my head since I was young. I grew up on a farm. My father Cirilo and my mother ... Read More »