For as long as I can remember, I have always felt special saying I was born out of the US. It made me proud and different. As diverse and amazing California is, you just don’t really meet many South Americans, let alone Peruvians. I have always used this as a fun fact when introducing myself and honestly enjoyed the feeling of being looked at as this mysterious being coming from a place that is easily overlooked.

Can I say I am feeling that same way now? Honestly, not all the time. Being an immigrant in this country when we are not wanted is heartbreaking. I have called America my home longer than I have called Peru one and it continues to breaks my heart little by little with each inhumane act of injustice it is doing to the very people that have raised this country up. This has made me feel powerless and silent. And for the first time ever, I was not eager to share my background.

Until now. I, Alannis Romani, was born in Lima, Peru and came to US at age 6 with my family. My dad went back to school and finished 3 degrees and a countless other programs because his Peruvian college degrees were not seen as enough. My mom worked as a TA for multiple teachers and offered her service to both my elementary and high school for as long as my sister attended both. My parents have worked night and day twice as much to give my sister and I the greatest life they could give us.

The only positive thing that came out of this whirlwind for me was my "once lost now found” voice. Still scared, but never again silenced.

Alannis Romani