PRISM is a process.


It is listening, feeling, decoding, unpacking, exploring, hurting, bleeding, and healing all over again.


In PRISM, we are exploring our journeys as People Of Color, making strong headway in an era that wants to fetishize our sensual undertones, commodify our complex narratives, and simplify our history. 


This project is a slow one, constantly evolving and taking the time it needs. I've already worked with some amazing people through this project and am always looking for more contributors; if you are a Person Of Color and are interested in sharing your story and collaborating with me on your portrait, please reach out.

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"At our Thanksgiving table we cut our own raw tuna sashimi, chopped fresh habaneros into jambalaya, and made rainbow jello out of Hawaiian seaweed for dessert but also made sure to bring candied yams and stuffing. If you can believe it, it actually took a long time in the midst of this menagerie to understand that I was a woman of color. Unlike my siblings I was born with very fair skin and have been socialized as white, even by mixed race peers and those who know the story of my heritage – so much that I have even been disparaged for calling myself a POC. I think my own fair-skinned father intended for us to live as white people and to reject the identity of our color; even my white friends sometimes talk to me with racist undertones as though they are not directed at me because I was born with light skin. I think, though, that life as a mixed race woman is a sort of superpower – we are the embodiment of dismantling cultural barriers, we are born of the magic of two tribes knitting themselves together in love."


Alana Eakin, 28

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"I grew up as a Mexican American but the only Spanish I ever heard in the house were cuss words. I didn't know that the way my family warmed tortillas on a gas stove was anything to note until I went to college. 25 years grown and I realize only now that ever ounce of work ethic, unbridled generosity, jovial spirit, and unwavering stubbornness that I have is intrinsically linked to my family and my heritage. While no two families make enchiladas the same, I cannot tell you how comforting it is to see someone who looks like you, walks and talks like you, and will a call out to you, "hijita", just because. For that is why I'll always know I come from a culture that is sacred and every bit apart of who I am."


Emily Perales, 25

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"Looking like me means I straddle two worlds. There is the culture my brown eyes and hair declare to the world and the culture that lies within. Life is a constant seesaw of rejection and acceptance. I am “too white” because of where I grew up and my broken Spanish. Yet, when people ask where I am from, “American” is not an answer they accept. I’ve always struggled for any semblance of identity because of the stereotypes, expectations, shame and pride dumped on my shoulders by both worlds. Even today I still don’t know what to say when people ask, what are you? I decided to embrace my Mexican roots by not allowing my appearance to be dictated by styles that diminish my ethnic look. I acknowledge the privilege I had growing up that my parents and their parents did not have to go to college and live comfortably. I was born into a patriotic family, but also fed pan dulce while listening to Selena. I do not fit into the cookie cutters of what many think I should be, but I’m learning that that’s OK. I accept me."


Amanda Amador, 25

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"My being was created by two very very different people. Two different cultures that expected very different things from me, all while assimilating to American norms. My biracial make up continually comes back to movement. Movement between cultures, expectations, perceptions, whiteness, colored, in group, and otherness. I occupy one side at a time for others but truly wish to float in the middle. I can't speak my family's language nor my skin always a golden brown. Proving my heritage constantly feels like a test of worth. My white passing privilege feels like an activation button that others can push when they wish or turn off when comfortable. People try to guess my family's homeland while staring at my body as if my features are a puzzle that has a correct answer. I was raised by strong, loud, passionate, and sensitive women from two different cultures. I am a combination of their collective love, experiences, trauma, immigration, and strength.

I am both. I am movement. I am enough."


Megan Garay, 26

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"They told me my first word was 'pan.' Bread. The primordial staple of growth. As I aged, the Spanish grew smaller in my mouth until it became the whisper of a nopal fluttering behind my teeth. Language was liquid in the house my parents built from stone. I still knew how to flip a tortilla with my bare fingers. I still knew all the words to Selena’s music. During attendance call in the 4th grade, amongst a sea of Millers and Smiths, I was a Rodriguez, and I was proud. The playground was always a hotbed of taunting; my white friends demanding that I say something in Spanish, demanding that I deliver some kind of proof to verify my heritage. Sometimes I believed I needed to. As I grew, I stitched my Spanish back together like a patched blanket, pulling jargon from every soil I’d ever stepped on. When my father hears me speak, he still teases me. But the last time I was in a taxi it was driving me through Cartagena, and the driver said to me "Tienes una cara latina."

 

I wear my culture like a second skin. My backbone is a flint I can start wildfires with, and my marrow holds deep stories I am still learning to hear. My biracial narrative has not been simple, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”


Morgan Rodriguez, 24

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