Voices In My Head
Identity In A Multicultural Long Beach
I’ve been called Ethnically ambiguous. A Newyorican. Half Puerto Rican. Half Dominican. Born in New York. And I speak no Spanish. And yet, here I am, publishing a bilingual Latino Magazine in a city that is 42% Latino.
I’m so American in every way that I can mean it. Born and raised in a city, New York, where the whole world was always living next door. That continued throughout my life and the many countries and states I visited and the cities I lived: Washington, D.C., Hartford, CT., Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA. To define my identity today, one has to understand the many people and cultures that I’ve met throughout my life. And it has brought me to here, this moment as a Latino in a multicultural city that was recently listed as the second most diverse city in America.
The three years working with the youth media organization, VoiceWaves, previewed the future of Long Beach. Energetic and committed young people determined to tell their stories and change this city. Each of them reflecting their family histories and heritage but equally committed to a multicultural Long Beach.
I can define myself as a Latino and still be equally committed to a multicultural city. I can still publish Palacio Magazine to ensure that Latino stories are told and not muted and be a bridge between diverse communities in order to build dialogue and partnerships.
I can do all that and still be ethnically ambiguous. A Newyorican. Half Puerto Rican. Half Dominican. Born in New York. And still speak no Spanish. Because I know I am Antonio Ruiz and I know who I am.