Essential Questions

  • How do internal and external factors contribute to the shaping of my identity and the identity of others?
  • How do race, ethnicity, nationality, and culture shape identity?



Alexander Williams





Shawn Trenell O’Neal




Say my name like the Wondaland cried out

Pink and white house teenage girl where she cried out

Biologically psychologically astrologically

A Scorpio was born to carry on genealogically

Genetically brown-skinned poetically

Factor in the era and the system-wide terror

It’s a miracle how we stay so spiritual

While the empirical namesakes are everything but satirical


Why they keep askin, “What’s your roots”

And it’s obvious Alex Haley refutes

Eurocentric Transmutes and transmissions

But our ambition was to petition for position

Africana tactician my abolition of Black conditions

And give our rendition Black soul traditions

I was a sight for sore eyes in the eyes of this girl

And her creation and patience sent me out to the world


It was a very nice home Double X chromosome

But the X and the Y still had space to roam

Is Astrodome stardust in your dome

Intergalactic travel outside the judge’s gavel

No brothers no sisters just cousins no Mister

No yo I got ya back lil’ man Tongue twisters

and headphones microphones cornerstones of fully grown

Ran wit kids affiliate to Folk and Black P. Stones


News Flash

Always been Black enough

Always had tact becuz

Knew my name would back it up

Whatever I was lackin of

Kept it tight like batting gloves

Labor of love was rising up

From a youngster to punkster


Athlete to obtuse from oddball to recluse

Never reproduced so when I’m gone

My tag will be the final truce

But I’ll be reintroduced to the young girl

No longer sixteen with fro sheen aspirations

Of Egyptian Queens

But holding space inbetween the sky, clouds, stars and moon

My identity depends on whether we all remain immune.



Kalonji Nzinga



Marlene Palomar

Why I’m Here


Por que estoy here?

Quien me trajo a donde estoy physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually?


Que si why am I here?


Por mi existecia que tratan de borrar

Naci de sueños, esperanza, y amor


I am the dreams, I am the pain, I am the effort

I am the manos que cosechan el maíz y mezcal

I am my great grandmother’s stolen childhood

I am my grandmother, the “whore”

I am my father in the semi’s engine cruzando el border

I am a farmworker, a brazero

I am strawberries, I am apples, I am oranges


I am cariño


You soy casitas hechas de mud y straw

Yo soy el rebozo de mi abuelita keeping my father warm

I am my mother and father’s love story


I am love


I am my mother taking the bus in colorado winters to take me to my appointments

Yo soy my father working at 3 am y mi mother working at 5 am

Yo soy “Mija que dice aqui?”


I am a resource


Yo soy “hay comida en casa” y no tenemos dinero para eso

I am “ No se vallan! Hay que tomarnos un cafe” at mi tias casa at 9 pm

I am my father doing my chongos

I am my mother doing my trenzas

I am abrazos de buenas noches y besos de buenos dias

I am “ Mija echale ganas”

Yo soy el amanecer en el rancho Y el atardecer con la banda

Yo soy zapateados y corridos


I am felicidad


Yo soy the only one that looks like in my undergrad and grad

Yo soy carne asadas y birria

Yo soy las microaggressions and blatant racism as I walk into a room

I am education

I am aprendiendo todo para ayudar a mi hermanita con su tarea y mi mami y papi con sus taxes


Yo soy curiosidad


Yo soy “academically struggling Montbello High School”

Yo soy, “Maybe you should think about taking a different route” during undergrad advising in the psychology department at CU

I am “Si se Puede” Y “Si se pudo”

I am Futura Doctora Palomar


Que si why am I here?


I am here por que I did not see myself or the community I grew in reflected in higher education

I am here por the faculty & Doctoral Students that supported me

I am here por que they believed in me and genuinely cared

I am here por que es necesario, por que es una lucha, y una revolución



Arturo J. Aldama


Michael Acuna

Sub Imago



Carla Cariño


Where are you from? A Recipe for Defiance 

“Where are you from?”
My heart starts to race
My face…has betrayed me, given me away once again
I don’t belong here…everyone can see it
It never gets easier, the sting of being forever foreign
“Cleveland,” I say
“No, where are you REALLY from?”
Other ways this gut wrenching question is asked by strangers…
“What’s your nationality?” )American)
“What are you?” (Human)
“Do you mean what’s my race, ethnicity? Where are my parents from?” I’ll clarify
“My dad is from the Philippines and my mom was born here. Her parents were from Italy.”
“Then why is your last name Spanish? I thought you were Mexcian/black/native…”
Then follows a history lesson about the Philippines, a land of 7000 islands, a land of beautiful brown skin sun kissed
people who were COLONIZED by the spanish longer than Mexico and then hit repeat for the AMERICANS. Tagalog,
Visayan, Illocano, languages NOT dialects forced into Spanish, English
Too often encounter with the strangers
“So what are you?” you ask.
The recipe is as follows…Bitches
With a
Layer of Spanish (not by choice)
Drizzled with Pacific Islander (#flipflops4life)
Smothered with Jungle Asian (Whatever this means)
Stir it up and you have
Can’t put me in a box


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