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!