The items in my Shadow Box represent me, my counter narrative. When people look at me, they see a young man with brown skin. These are my assigned identities but they do not tell who I really am. In my shadow box I displayed a Mexico flag, Guatemala flag, Oakland tree, Money, and my baby pictures. My shadow box represents a lot about my ethnicity. I put the flags because I’m proud to be Mexican and Guatemalan and I love to represent my culture. I put the Oakland tree as my centerpiece because Oakland made me into me, it’s my chosen identity. Oakland raised me, I’ve lived here my whole life and I love to represent it because it’s the identity im most proud of. I chose to put my baby pictures and pictures with my family because my family is extremely important to me. I love my family because they support me no matter what and will always have my back. My brothers give me advice, they teach me right from wrong and most importantly have my back no matter what. My parents have worked substantially so get where they are today. For that I will be forever grateful because they sacrificed everything to give me and my brothers a better life. Dominant narratives about my race are, I am dangerous or poor. I’m not rich but my parents were able to put a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food on our table. I’ve never been an aggressive person or a person who enjoys to hurt others. I’ve never threatened another person’s life. My shadow box tells my story, my weaknesses, my strengths, my autoethnography.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Shadow Box by Omar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Youth Voices is an open publishing platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.

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