"My name is Vilma Peguero, I’m a first generation American born to Dominican parents and a native of Providence, RI. I obtained by Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Rhode Island and earned my Juris Doctor degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Growing up I had to constantly prove my Latinidad. People had a difficult time accepting me as a Latina because of my hair texture, facial features, and dark skin complexion. My complex racial and ethnic identity made a lot of people uncomfortable. I was treated differently by my Latino counterparts and I was often ostracized by them because I wasn’t “Latina enough." On the flip side, my African American counterparts would make comments that I was trying to be something that I wasn’t. Regardless of what people say about me today, I know that my melanin doesn’t make me any less of a Latina because “Latino or Latinx” isn’t a race it’s an ethnicity. I’m proud to be racially black and a Latina. Hopefully Black Latina Negra Bella is able to change the narrow perceptions people have of Latinos/Latinx.

And to the young girls who can relate to my struggles while growing Afro-Latina, the next time someone questions you about what it means to be an Afro-Latino, tell them it's a mixture of Brown Sugar and Sofrito!

Read Issue 16