September 13, 2022
Hola, I am Estefania (Eh-stef-ah-nee-ah) Perez, my pronouns are she/her/ella, and I am the Bilingual Education Program Coordinator at FriendsPDX! I am a first-generation Latina, born in Torrance, California. I was raised in a small town on the Oregon Coast called Coos Bay, but I have called Portland my home for the past 9 years.
Both of my parents are from Michoacan, Mexico. I have had the privilege of visiting and meeting my paternal grandparents, tías y tíos, cousins, nieces/nephews, and extended family. On these trips, I've witnessed traditions from both of my parents’ hometowns. Going to visit my family in Mexico and seeing where my parents grew up has been a huge influence on my life, it has kept me connected to my culture, and has made me proud to be Mexicana.
Growing up first-gen is a little weird and I sometimes hear the phrase “ni de aqui, ni de alla" which translates to "neither here nor there." To your peers in the States, you are not American enough, and to your family in Mexico, you are not Mexican enough. You don’t feel like you really belong in either space, and that is why I am a Chicana. I carry both cultures with me, even though I wasn’t born and raised in Mexico I still feel proud of my roots, and I am also grateful for the opportunities I have had living in the States.
September 15 - October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. FriendsPDX fully acknowledges that the terms Hispanic and Latinx are not naturally occurring and instead placed upon the communities that they were invented to describe. We have a whole blog dedicated to its historical background here.