This is my story about growing up Chicana,
There was a time when I was ashamed of my last name Sanchez. Growing up in Bakersfield, or more specifically Oildale, gave me a lot of grief for being of Mexican decent.
I remember the first comments being made in middle school. My friends, who were white or white passing, would tell me, “You’re cool because you don’t act like a Mexican and you don’t look it either.” These comments were made all the time and continued into high school. I was not fully accepted by non-white passing Mexicans either, as they told me I wasn’t “Mexican enough”.
I will never again be ashamed of carrying the last name Sanchez. Which is why I decided to use my real last name here to represent my pride. People even made fun of my first name ‘Gloria’ because it sounds like an “old Mexican woman name”. I was actually named after my Mexican father’s sister who passed away shortly after birth.
When I created my blog in high school I had all of the shame from my peers on my mind. It made me reason that no one would pay attention to me or take me seriously online unless I completely changed my name. So I started going by my middle name ‘Kendall’ in 2011 and using multiple alias last names over the years. I’ve grown very attached to my name Kendall and don’t plan to change that, but my family still calls me Gloria, which I love.
We cannot allow ignorant people to fill our minds with shame, shame that is trickling down from their parents and being regurgitated to impressionable kids in the classroom like me. I’ll admit that I am not as in touch with my Mexican heritage as I wish I was, but I try to participate and learn as much as I can now as an adult. And I am able to experience that more through my beautiful close, life-long friends like @alejandro_mars.
I love where my people come from and how hard they have fought to be here. That’s why we should text ‘RESIST’ to 50409 to tell our state senators that we want to #DefendDACA. It’s quick and it sends a fax to your senator’s office!
I love you all. Love yourselves.