Bonus Multiracial Heritage Week Family!

Cherry Vasquez and Family
As a multiracial family – Roy, Kelly and I just live our lives. Though we realize we’re a multiracial family, it’s never pointed out. We’ve never really had to deal with issues until it was time for Kelly to begin elementary school. As parents, we dreaded each year having to fill out the ‘first day of school’ forms. In these instances, we almost always selected Roy’s race on paper which is White because it’s noted on his birth certificate (something I’ll never understand except for his apparent skin hue at birth). But, since he is Kelly’s dad, I respected his choice. Once Kelly graduated toward Middle school, she wouldn’t have it! No one, regardless of authority, would ever identify for her again. It was now her right. Kelly began to write Biracial in the spot labeled ‘Other’, and then she selected Hispanic as her Ethnic group, but African American as her race. She says that doing this allows her to point out both heritages. By the way, I never liked the word ‘Other’ because I never looked at our child as an ‘Other’.

As a mom who is present on social media platforms, I knew the importance of shaping our daughter’s world around high self-esteem. I always taught her the importance of embracing both her heritages. My ideology stemmed from listening to biracial celebrities explaining how they dealt with, and felt about identity issues. Some shared how mentally draining it was never knowing which ethnic/racial groups would accept them, if at all. They often shared how confused, and the sense of loneliness they endured. Knowing this, I vowed that my interactions with our daughter would focus on her experiencing a balanced life loving all of who she is – her total self. To date, our daughter only identifies as biracial. She is adamant about not solely identifying as Hispanic or African American. Just recently Kelly informed us that she’s okay with using the word mixed (in a more relaxed setting), but always biracial (in professional settings). I’ve never advocated for the use of words such as mixed, swirl or mutt (as non-canine dogs are often called). Kelly will be 19 years old in three short months, so now she takes the lead.

During Multiracial Heritage Week, and throughout the years, I search for Instagram posts featuring multiracial family unions. I’m often disappointed when I read posts where moms refer to, or identify their biracial/multiracial children as one race. I’ve especially noticed that whenever I read these posts, oftentimes, one parent is black, therefore their children are told they’re black. In these instances, I do my best carefully thinking through the right words to use before leaving my comments, being sure to compliment the parents on their children, or their posts, and then I inform them that I’m a mom of a biracial child who solely identifies as biracial person in wholesome healthy ways, and I share my reasoning. I’m also certain to introduce the Project RACE link in hopes that they’ll take a closer look and understand the importance of lifting up, and esteeming their biracial child’s race.

Because of the current racial tensions surrounding the death of George Floyd, many parents are going LIVE on FB and/or writing posts on social networks – lovingly advocating for their ‘black’ children (who are clearly biracial). While I admire parents advocating for their children’s rights, I feel this one-race ideology is not fair to biracial children, and will ‘play into’ low self-esteem issues while damaging the outlook of their biracial children’s true identities.  In addition, I feel strongly that due to these scenarios, the fight for race status on behalf of biracial people is an ongoing, uphill battle.

It is so important for biracial children to have their rightful identities. They are not one race over the other. They are indeed biracial/multiracial and can be taught to own their total self.

Cherry Vasquez

Multiracial Heritage Week a Great Success!

Susan Graham

I hope you enjoyed our showcasing some of our Project RACE Leadership families during Multiracial Heritage Week. I am being told by our Project RACE teens that it’s my turn!

I was born in Detroit and went through all of my schooling in Michigan. I pursued careers in public relations, writing, industrial real estate, telecommunications, and finance. I married a black husband in 1981 and we had two multiracial children. I now have two grandchildren whom I spoil and adore. I divorced and re-married in 2005 to my husband of 15 years, a poet and retired educator. We live in California’s Central Valley.

My son Ryan and I started Project RACE in 1990. I am still the CEO and Ryan is on our Board of Directors. He has testified twice before congressional committees at their request and I have testified three times. We have worked for over 30 years to help gain equality for the multiracial population. We have made a lot of progress with the Census Bureau, government agencies, schools, and medical facilities.

In May, 2019, my memoir, Born Biracial: How One Mother Took on Race in America was published. I am working on a novel about families and a murder.

We have had such an amazing response to highlighting our families for Multiracial Heritage Week on our blog and Facebook that we are inviting you to join us. If you are a Project RACE member (membership is free), just send us a description of your family, a picture, and a note that we have the right to publish both. We reserve the right to edit or reject any submissions. Email them to me at susangraham@projectrace.com and put “MHW” in the subject line.

We still have a long way to go and we appreciate all our members. Happy Multiracial Heritage Week!

 

Another Project RACE Family!

The Brock Family

I was born and raised in the deep south. There’s a lot to be thankful for in my sleepy small town. You won’t find tea any sweeter than ours, and there are never any traffic jams. But as illuminated by recent events, like Ahmuad Arbery’s murder, we’ve still got a lot of work to do down south to achieve equality and justice for people of color. My parents and I have been turned away from churches. Sometimes people don’t want to sit by us in restaurants. I’ve been laughed at and referred to as a ‘mixed-breed mutt.’ For a long time, this upset me. I was ashamed. I didn’t understand why this happened, and I most definitely didn’t feel celebrated. Project RACE was one of the first places where I felt welcomed and accepted, exactly as I was. My family wasn’t ‘too black’ nor were we ‘too white.’ We were a beautiful blend of cultures and customs. Multiracial Heritage Week is always an important reminder that families like mine deserve to be celebrated. There is a spot for us, and it isn’t in the ‘check other’ box. Each year, I hope that at least one new interracial family will join in on our celebration. A special kind of magic manifests itself when you begin to live your truth unapologetically. I truly believe that Multiracial Heritage Week is an invitation to join in on the magic of the movement.

Lexi Brock

The Remple Family

Madeyln Rempel’s Family

 

Multiracial Heritage Week has finally arrived!  This time last year I spent the week highlighting and celebrating different multiracial personalities that have made a positive difference in our world.  Unfortunately this year, my family and the rest of the world mourn the lives that have been lost at the hands of injustice.  Once again we are  reminded of the long history of disparities that the African American community has faced over the last four centuries.  I always hear my parents say “when one part hurts we all hurt”, and a part of our humanity is hurting so we hurt with our African American brothers and sisters.  Even though the world sees differences in race pull us apart, my reality has been the opposite and I want to celebrate that!

My father is white and my mother is Dominican.  My father grew up in a small town in Minnesota with a mostly white community with little exposure to diversity until his college years.  My father’s eyes were opened to new realities, new worlds, and challenged to broaden his perspective.  He was eager to explore them.  On the other hand, my mom, originally born in the Domincan Republic is multiracial (she is of African, Arawak and of Spanish descent), moved to New Jersey into a community composed of mostly minorities.  The reality of her upbringing is very different from my father’s.  My mom had her unique set of challenges moving to a new country.  My mom identifies as black, brown, or multiracial depending on the experience she is trying to explain. As a minority, her experience with racism is complex, and one that has taken time to verbalize.

Despite my parents’ racial differences and upbringing, they fell in love while pursuing the same passion of helping others.  From the beginning of my parent’s relationship, race has been an ongoing discussion within my family not as a point of tension or division but as a part of us that we celebrate, embrace and brings us together.  My parents’ love for each other, friends and family of different races, has taught me that love is a unifying force that allows us to celebrate our differences instead of feeling threatened by them.  These examples have shaped my character into what it is today, and my eagerness to stand up for racial injustice.  It has also guided my journey of discovering my multiracial heritage and embracing my identity. To celebrate Multiracial Heritage Week, my family and I will simply enjoy each other’s company, a few movies and some yummy desserts too!

Madelyn Rempel

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Multiracial Heritage Week Families

Matheson Bossick’s Family

This year’s Multiracial Heritage week has come during the greatest social unrest in recent memory. With everything going on in the world today, we hope that you are staying safe and healthy during these uncertain times. While it is important to keep these events in mind, our focus now shifts to what makes us, as multiracial people, so unique and special.

My mother who is mainly Caucasian was born in Tennessee in the early 80’s. Although I am biologically half-Caucasian, I have always felt a strong presence in the Puerto Rican community because of my step-grandmother. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, both of my step-grandmother’s parents are from Puerto Rico. Growing up, I spent a lot of time around this side of my family and embraced the culture as a part of my identity. I grew up eating Hispanic food, listening to Hispanic music, and even learning parts of the language. While I am not Hispanic by blood, I have always remained very close to this part of my family.

My father was born in Cambodia in 1979, during the Khmer Rouge Regime. While my grandmother is Chinese and fair skinned, my grandfather is Khmer and very much dark skinned, which led to my father and his siblings being mostly darker skinned. After escaping Communist Cambodia and ending up in a Thai refugee camp, my family was moved to the states in the early 80’s. The miscellaneous appearance of my father and his siblings led to a lot of confusion about his ethnicity from people of other races. They were often mistaken as African Americans, Hispanics, and even Hawaiians. While I am not as dark as my father, I myself am rarely ever considered to be of Asian descent. While difficult at times, I like to use other people’s confusion to explain and show my Asian heritage. Things like attending temple events, eating Khmer food, listening to Khmer music, and speaking the language always remind me of my family’s history and how important it is to me.

In my generation, I am the oldest of five siblings in my family. I have two Caucasian brothers on my mother’s side, and a brother and sister who are completely Asian on the other. While as a biracial person in this society, I realize that it is easier in some ways to identify as Caucasian, I have always tended to identify more strongly with the Asian and sometimes even the Hispanic parts of my family. I have had the opportunity to experience all kinds of cultures that many people will never get to see, which is what makes me love being multiracial and makes my perspective on race so unique. My goal is not to see people as members of separate races, but rather to use my diverse experiences to share my various cultures with others.

 

Matheson Bossick, Project RACE Teens Vice President

Multiracial Heritage Week Family

The Wooten Family

 

As sad times surround us everywhere due to racial injustice, celebrating Multiracial Heritage Week with families all around us seems to come at just the right time. My family consists of five, which includes our dog Soleil. Of my sister and I, I am the youngest.

My Caucasian father was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1973, in an all-White suburban area. It was very rare for my father to interact with people of color; especially African Americans. The most interaction he had with someone who was Black was with his tennis doubles partner. My father ate, slept, and breathed tennis. You could always find him training, playing tournaments, or conditioning at his racquet club, which were predominantly White.

Similar to my father, my African American mother, was born in Illinois, but was raised in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, another midwestern town. She was always surrounded by a majority of White people. My mother graduated as one of only 17 African Americans in her graduating class in high school. Throughout her life she, her siblings, and my grandparents experienced many hardships due to the color of their skin with name calling, stereotyping, and threats.

My parents met in Indianapolis and eventually got married. They will celebrate 22 years of happy marriage this weekend! They later birthed my older sister who is now coming up on 20 years old, and then me who just turned 17 years old. We moved to Houston, Texas, where we both attended predominantly White schools. My parents have done well when it comes to teaching us to be proud of our multiracial background and accept our dual races. Even though it can still sometimes be hard to choose when we do not see a proper way to identify ourselves on documents such as a license or other forms, we have learned to accept ourselves and be proud of our multiracial background.

Skylar Wooten, Project RACE Teens, Vice President

Multiracial Heritage Week

Multiracial Heritage Week is upon us! We hope you enjoy meeting some of leadership families. First up, the Baldwins!

It is sad to say that this Multiracial Heritage week comes in a time of greater racial unrest than any of the past six. Nonetheless, this week is one focused on celebrating our heritage and being proud of what makes us who we are. I’m the youngest of three children. My black father was born in Houston in 1960 and remembers, as a young boy, seeing the anguish in his family when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. He met my white mother here in Ohio while she was in college and he was playing for the Cleveland Browns. They celebrated my oldest sister’s birth in South Central Los Angeles in the middle of the Rodney King trial. We moved to Ohio just months after the senseless murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Racial unrest, injustice, and violence are not new to my family’s consciousness, and it is sad that today, most people of color can say the same. Despite these issues constantly being present in my world, I have typically felt at least a little disconnected from them, thanks to my privilege and my loving family. Today I feel a stronger connection to the injustice and see it more clearly than ever before. But it remains incomprehensible. No one in this world has shown me more love than my black father, my white mother, and my multiracial sisters, and there is no one I love more than those very people. Growing up in a household with people of three distinct racial makeups has made understanding tension, distrust, and hatred based solely on race difficult. I’ve received no greater sense of joy than that of time spent simply watching movies, playing games, and eating with my family. These are the people I love and the people who have helped make me who I am. While I sincerely want to do all I can to enact change in this world, nothing will ever change that.

Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teens President

Multiracial Heritage Week

Today is the day we typically begin celebrating

Multiracial Heritage Week.

 

Sadly, many among our community do not feel like celebrating.

 

As we at Project RACE enter our seventh annual Multiracial Heritage Week,

we find ourselves and our world in incredibly difficult times.

We are a nation in mourning. We are mourning many things and much

of the anguish is centered around ongoing racial injustice

and our nation’s history of racism.

 

As multiracial people, we feel that pain deeply and personally.

And yet we will not allow that pain to diminish the love we have for

our interracial families nor the pride we have in all that we are.

Love is greater than hate.

 

Throughout this week, the leaders of Project RACE will be

posting about our families here on our blog.

We invite you to learn about the beautiful families we love and celebrate

and to share with us on our various channels about yours.

 

Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teen, President

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MHW Picnic!

This photo is of one of our Multiracial Heritage Week picnics in New York!

Thank you!

 

We just want to thank everyone who made national Multiracial Heritage Week such a great success this year. We received written acknowledgment from 17 states and 4 mayors of large cities. Yes! We also had numerous new members sign up for membership and asking to be placed on our mailing list.

The media attention has been great, with television, radio, and podcasts. If you missed Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teen President on WKYC, you can catch it here: https://www.wkyc.com/amp/article/entertainment/television/liveonlakeside/karson-baldwin-project-race-teens-gears-up-for-multiracial-heritage-week/95-c9a9fef6-6506-4589-920c-475f8beb719a

Project RACE celebrates being multiracial throughout the year, but our week is very special to us. Please consider being a part of it next year by going to our website and filling out a form here: http://www.projectrace.com/mhw/

Also, please let us know throughout the year what companies, hospitals, media outlets, etc. include “multiracial” on their forms and surveys. We encourage you to frequent those that include us like Aveda and Walgreen’s, and make your preferences known to those that don’t, like TheSkimm. Thank you.

 

Project RACE

Project RACE Teens

Project RACE Kids

Project RACE Grandparents