Angelica Chavez (28), Meoki Leath (2), and Olin Hyde (5 months)
Angelica is a previous project participant, you can view her original photo and story from 2016 here.
Angelica shares -
“Parenting renewed the way looked at myself. Instead of focusing on what I look like and my flaws, I focus on my features like my changing hair texture or skin and compare them to my littles and picture of my parents. Because their features are so different, I end up focusing on where my features came from. I don’t want my kids to shy away from themselves just because they look different, it’s those differences that make them who they are.
When I participated in this project two years ago I will have to admit that I was a little naive. With a fairly easy pregnancy experience and a good breast feeding experience at that point, the worst that had happened around the time I met you was the political climate of the time (Trump had just gotten the GOP nomination, and we are in North Carolina). Since then, I have had another— more difficult— pregnancy, a beautiful child, and to be honest quite a few more struggles. I won’t say I’m wise now, but I’ve done a lot of growing, and I have learned a lot about myself and my voice.
As a first generation American I am realizing how ingrained it was in me to keep quiet and to ourselves. My parents were “illegal” when I was going up. We spent almost two decades in the system. We were given the runaround and taken advantage of by so many people. When I was 20 I was sent a letter threatening my parents’ deportation and custody of my younger brother. It had always been hard for me to speak up and find a voice for myself and my family, until we had to fight to keep ourselves together. I have been thinking about what my family would like if the tables had turned- and the reality is harsh. I am grateful for my children, without them these times would feel so much darker.
It is hard feeling like you are doing something to make a difference when you have also been taught to fear and respect the institution taking advantage of you. Fear is such a powerful and weak compelling force. I don’t want my daughter to ask about this time of history and what I did, to only say I only donated money. We need to donate, AND march, AND protest, AND speak up when our friends are wrong, AND help those who cannot help themselves alone, AND not be afraid to show our skin (but I know I don’t have to tell you that). My family wouldn’t have looked the same without the help from someone who actually cared instead of just trying to make money. It’s important for my children to know where they come from, the struggles it took to get to where we are, and why they look the way they do. They are whole because they ARE. The fact that I have my children to hold on to is reason enough to fight for those who don’t, it’s because of people like you and other amazing women before me that I have my family at all.
This project has been such a force in helping me find myself in a sea of chaos. Seeing your strength and the strength of so many other women together.
It’s so important to me, especially living in the South in today’s world, to be open and vocal about our heritage and the importance of diversity in our communities. I don’t want my children growing up feeling unwelcome or scared in a country founded upon the values of tolerance.
You are worthy because you ARE. Succeeding isn’t the end game, it’s trying, growing and learning. Sometimes you fail. Hopefully you are doing things different than people around you. That might be the most important part to life.”