Category Archives: when

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 »

Bright Future (México)

It was a struggle getting to the U.S. but it was worth it. I had a decent childhood, I was born in México, Apatzingán, Michoacán in 1984. My mom’s name was Maria  but we called her Lola and my dad’s name was Cristobal. I was the youngest in my family of 5 brothers and 6 sisters, so most of the ... Read More »

From a Small Town to Bustling City (Tanzania)

My name is Sylivia, I was born in Bukoba, Tanzania on April 14, 1979. The early days in my hometown Bukoba are still in my fond memories. I grew up with my younger sisters under our loving parents. My father was a businessman, and my mother was a house mom. Our parents worked hard and afforded a decent life for ... Read More »

From Third to First (Colombia)

My name is Robert and I was just a teenager when I left. In my jean shorts, white tank top, and sandals I was young. 19 years old, alone, and full of dreams when I decided to come to the United States. I knew there was more opportunity for me here than the island in Colombia that I came from. ... Read More »

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