FAMILY SERIES: Finding Your Tribe Amid Hidden Diversity with Julie Sanchez

The Color Purple 2023

In talking with Julie Sanchez and her daughters Marina—who calls herself a “Ja-Mexican” (A Jamaican-Mexican), and Audriana – Julie, and Marina both spoke about community. And, how finding a cross-cultural community made the difference in their lives. We discussed the importance of how  finding one’s tribe and creating a sense of community can be an empowering act.

Alex Hillman’s TED talk on–Where are my people? Finding a where it’s least obvious.

Cultural diversity-the new-world order

It is so important that we developed a digital and print magazine around this idea. CULTURS global, multicultural magazine celebrates the unique perspectives of Global Nomads, Third Culture Kids (TCKs), and ethnically and culturally-blended people. Those who are culturally mobile.  In our pages, you will hear from perspectives that show a new-world order rife with a 21st Century point of view. This new normal reflects the hidden diversity that increasingly is becoming the hallmark of daily living around the globe.

What it means to find your tribe

Marriage and relationship therapist—Isadora Alman explained, “What I mean by finding your tribe is joining a group that allows you to feel one of them….  Being one of several people who share your interests, who are glad to welcome you into their circle, who when they say “we” mean you too.  It’s a very good feeling.”

Julie began our conversation by saying…”My name is Julie Sanchez and I’m basically what you consider a Chicana—which is a[n] American born, [person of] Mexican descent.”

Julie is a native Coloradan, and a Denver Entrepreneur. Though Julie and her parents were born in the United States, her immediate family straddles three cultures—Mexican, Jamaican, and American, with the fluidity of a gentle, winding river.

Julie spoke about being a confident, self-assured teenager and in her early days at university, but that something was missing. It was not until she transferred to a university with more diversity that she seemed to come alive.

“I felt like I was a person again,” she beamed. It all was about finding her tribe.

Growing up where there was no diversity has been a positive experience for Julie, who explained,  “I think it’s a tool in the toolbox that’s an advantage for me.”

Julie’s parents felt life would be easier for her in their community if she assimilated into the local, English speaking culture.

When asked how she felt about not being taught her ancestral language—Spanish—Julie said, “I  think it was a disservice for me now in my adulthood. However, I think being assimilated into the Caucasian community that I grew up in – it wasn’t a bad decision.”

Julie’s parents are Mexican-American. Her mother was raised speaking English and Spanish, but in her home growing up her mother spoke only English, and her father spoke a Spanish-English slang.

People often call Audriana—Julie’s younger daughter, exotic because of her multiracial and multi-ethnic appearance. When asked how that feels she gave a response similar to the one that many multicultural people I offer—”I feel weird because it’s like they’re looking at me like an animal.”

Audriana recognizes and appreciates her unique, cross-cultural appearance but she looks toward the future when she feels having a blended world will be so common that being multi-ethnic or multi-racial  is no longer a potentially separating factor

Hidden diversity can be isolating in some regard. It can sometimes leave a feeling of lonliness as if one does not fit into any of the diversity groups they are associated with.

Julie said, “…Attending the Hispanic Chamber [of commerce] in Denver, [Colorado] it was like a glove fit right on my hands and it was incredible to feel the synergy, and energy, and the dynamics just mush together like a piece of a puzzle.”

Marina expressed how transferring into a middle-school with more diversity, “Saved my life.” One does not need to have hidden diversity or to be a Cross-Cultural Kid (CCK) to feel like an outsider.

I suppose the lesson here is to “get in where you fit in,” and build your community. How have you created community? I’d love to hear from you.

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