Adriana, 2000s – Current For as long as I can remember, every big holiday is marked in my family by extraordinary piles of dishes, the slightly salty smell of boiling corn husks and notes of sweet and spicy sauces and meats, the clamoring of too many people in one kitchen, all in pursuit of preparingContinue reading “Tamales”

Tres Leches Cake World

Helmut, 5 years old, 2019 My name is Melo. I love Tres Leches Cake. I have it at family birthdays and I also have it at my birthday. It is so good that my parents even had it at their wedding. Tres Leches is my favorite cake. I love it so much that my adContinue reading “Tres Leches Cake World”

Mandarin Orange

Cheryl, P.S. 169 Sunset Park School, 2019-Current Since Chinese New Year is arriving, I would say mandarin orange/tangerine reminds me of my family’s culture. Mandarins are smaller and oblate, rather than spherical like common oranges. The taste is considered less sour, as well as sweeter and stronger. Mandarins are one the most cultivated citrus fruitsContinue reading “Mandarin Orange”


Candice, 2014 My father brought me this maneki-neko from Japan when I was a teenage girl. As a young boy growing up in poverty in Akron, Ohio, he never imagined he would leave the country. Fast forward decades later and he had a family (my mom and me)…and a career that allowed him to travelContinue reading “Maneki-neko”

Carving Pumpkins

Nicole, 2017 Culture is all around us, the traditions and the forms of self-expression that we carry forward and pass down. Every Fall, my boyfriend’s family throws a pumpkin-carving party. Around 80 people – family, friends, neighbors, friends of friends – come each year, some traveling hours to get there. We spend the day playingContinue reading “Carving Pumpkins”

El Flamboyan Tree

Marisol, 1980s When I see this painting of “El Flamboyan Tree” in my mother’s home, it transports me to Puerto Rico, where my grandparents are from. Born and raised in the South Bronx, my first trip to Puerto Rico was when I was eight years old. I remember being in awe of the sounds, theContinue reading “El Flamboyan Tree”

Panamanian Unity

Sandra, Summer 2018 I went to Panama this summer to celebrate a wedding and family reunion with my husband’s dad’s side of the family who are from there. They were all so warm, full of joy and really represented unity in my eyes. During my time in Panama, I picked up this shell from aContinue reading “Panamanian Unity”

Cooking with Mom

Lena, 1990s – Current Lime pickle is one of my favorite things to add to Indian food, which my mom knows, so she will cook it with me whenever we are together. I chose this picture because it reminds me of spending time with mom, which I don’t get to do enough now that weContinue reading “Cooking with Mom”

Sankofa Bracelet

Nick, 2006 I bought this bracelet in Accra, Ghana at a crafts market while on a trip with 15 other African-Americans visiting the continent for the first time. This bracelet, made of brass, cost a mere $5 but its value is incalculable to me. It represents not only my identity, but also the identity ofContinue reading “Sankofa Bracelet”