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VIDEOS: Where We Come From

Where We Come From is an audio and video series telling the stories of immigrant communities of color through a personal and historical lens. Each episode or segment centers one person's story connected to a cultural theme, which they explore with a family member, friend and/or expert. The project offers a special opportunity to structure and highlight oral histories and also centers immigrant communities of color, so they can tell their own stories in conversation with each other.

Emily Kwong

Emily Kwong is a third-generation Chinese American, but she's never spoken her family's language. She is also NPR Short Wave Reporter & Host.

Until now.

At 30, she's trying to learn Mandarin Chinese for the first time — and unpacking why she never learned it in the first place.

"I've decided that any shame I might feel about imperfect pronunciation, fumbles with grammar... is nothing compared to shame I've felt about not knowing the language at all.," Kwong said.

César Magaña Linares

César Magaña Linares came to the U.S. from El Salvador with his family when he was just two years old. He is a temporary protected status, or TPS, holder. On June 7, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that thousands of immigrants in the U.S. with TPS will not be able to apply for permanent residency. César is working with his lawyer at the moment to see what this ruling means for him.

In conversation with his mentor and former speech coach Cameron Logsdon, César shares how his work around immigration advocacy impacted his life, and how he deals with the uncertainty surrounding his immigration status.

Colette Baptiste-Mombo

Growing up in an immigrant family at the height of the civil rights era, Colette Baptiste-Mombo's house always had the shades drawn in order to protect themselves. Almost 50 years later, she reflects on being a parent herself.

"It's different for my children now. Thank goodness I can say that I don't have to have my shades drawn in my home. Perhaps this is a symbol that things are changing for the better. But there's still a long way to go," Baptiste-Mambo said.

Priya Krishna

As the child of Indian immigrants living in the U.S., New York Time Food writer Priya Krishna says she was remarkably good at compartmentalizing her Indian and American identities, whether she was at home or at school.

"So, of course, when I was in an Indian grocery store, I was an Indian kid who loved aloo tikki and bhel puri and all of these things. But as soon as I landed at school or was at my friend's house, I was very good at, sort of, presenting in a way that I felt would be acceptable to that audience that I was with," Krishna said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.