My mother’s side of the family, they’re from California. My father is from Ohio but relocated to Texas, which is how I ended up there. My grandparents were all born in the U.S. One thing we like to do, I don’t know if they do it anywhere else in the world, but in Texas, we eat. So a lot of our culture, a lot of what we pass down, are recipes – just the tradition of coming together to celebrate as a community. We always incorporate food of some sort, which I’m totally okay with.
I think it’s really important to pass down stories. I think it is a big part of my identity and culture. It makes you invested in your family’s history. To know where I came from and know the experiences that my family had, it helps me understand that the mindset is different depending on the time. It helps me to better value the decisions and choices they made by knowing the reality of their situation at that time. It’s important to pay homage, and give them the respect they deserve for the things they put up with in order for us to have a better life.
My mother and her family are all from Houston. My dad and all his family are from Minneapolis. My dad is still there, and a lot of his family is still there as well.
While my uncle was in college, one of his projects was to retrace his roots. He actually traced them back to slavery. It was interesting, not to say that our history is only about slavery but it was a big part of it, clearly. My mom’s side of the family is connected to Steven F. Austin, which is a pretty big deal in Texas because there are statues everywhere. We have a school named after Steven F. Austin.
My family is very open about talking about our roots, it’s just tough to trace back before slavery. My grandma will tell us she picked cotton; my family is very open about everything. There’s no shame in where we come from. They want us to know about what we have, compared to what they had. It’s educational.