By Jingwei Zhang
At five years old, I moved thousands of miles away and across an ocean, from a village in the Guangzhou province of China to Oakland, Calif. My parents were farmers who wanted me to have a better life, and they had heard that America was a land of opportunity. But it wasn’t until many years later that I realized the difference between my new home and the world I left behind. Continue reading
By Jhazalyn Prince
My stomach clenched painfully as I opened the kitchen cabinet. Day by day, the contents continued to dwindle. I grabbed a Cup Noodles for the third time that day. It was the last package.
I was 13 when my parents separated. My brother, my mother and I had to leave our apartment and move to my grandmother’s apartment building. But in 2012, my mother lost her job, and we were evicted when we came up short on our rent. At age 16, I found myself homeless, embarrassed and angry—let down by my family. Continue reading
By Kina Carney
The afternoon before she died, I stood at my mother’s hospital bedside with my grandma. I looked at all the tubes and machines that enveloped her body. I heard the ringing of the feeding machine. I saw the paleness of her face. The smell of the IVs made me run from the room, into the waiting arms of my grandma. That night, I heard my older brother crying. I ran to the top of the stairs to see what was wrong. I’d never seen him cry before. Continue reading
By Sara Solano
New York, N.Y.
I was 13 years old when my parents announced that we would be moving from our home in the Dominican Republic to New York City. My parents made a bad investment with the family business, and thought that we would have better opportunities in America.
This transition meant the end of gymnastics, cheerleading, art class, and soccer. I had to leave my friends and everything that was important to me. We applied for a visa, and on July 27, 2010, we arrived in New York to embark on a new journey. Continue reading
By Lauren Smith
Los Angeles, Calif.
Illustration by Semaj Earl
Hi. My name is Lauren. You probably don’t know me or ever will, but I hope what I have to say to you will have an impact on you, maybe even change your life.
I’m the girl in class who raised her hand when the teacher asked a question. I got good grades, participated in school clubs, and make friends with almost everyone. I never get in trouble. I have never done drugs or gotten drunk. I am what you might call a “goody-goody.”
Even with this “perfect” life, I harbored a deep emotional pain. I hated myself. My pain was on the inside, invisible to the world. I felt the need to please everyone and to make everyone like me. I felt absolutely worthless when I did not succeed. I often thought, “Who can love me? I always mess things up.” Continue reading