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Nya is a senior in high school in an environment where there are not many students who look like her as a Black Latinx woman, but she finds her balance in the imbalance. She has made a very difficult decision, believing that in order to fit in and in order to be accepted by her white counterparts she must, “put on a show.” She laughs at jokes that are racially motivated when she knows that they're inappropriate. She laughs when her “friends” ask her questions about being Black or being Latinx. She never corrects them when they say things that are offensive to her personally and they will say these things with her in the room and with no shame, she laughs. It isn't until her senior year when she must do a family tree for a history assignment that she realizes what she’s doing undermines her family, that she loves. It's the first time in her life that she's ever actually sat down and had a conversation with her mother who was from the South and her father who is from South America. It is through these conversations that she realizes just how deep the blood in her veins runs and the decision is made that when she presents this family tree to her classmates, she is also going to present to them a new form of education. One that explains the things that are acceptable and the things that are not when they are speaking to her and about people like her. A very challenging story about how difficult it is for teenagers to belong in spaces that they don't feel like they can thrive in. Hopefully, this will educate students, teachers, and parents alike. Having a sense of belonging for a teenager may be more important than what those of us on the outside looking in can conceive. A story of truly finding and accepting your identity even if that means that you find yourself standing alone, isolated, on an island. Finally having that sense of self for Nya makes it all worth it.

Laughs & Love

  • (Scene opens with Nya, an Afro Latinx eighteen-year-old senior in high school reading small pieces of paper to herself. She vibes with some, laughs at others and some she collects into a pile on her desk. After a few seconds she gathers the pieces from the pile in her hands and addresses the audience.)


    This is what I do every day. On these little slips of paper are my roadmap to being rich and famous. Jokes. And I’m not joking when I say that my pathway to being rich and famous is by jokes, I am dead serious. Let me give you a little taste of some of the things that I’ve come up with, “The face I make when people ask me, “What type of curling iron do you use to get your hair like that?” (She gives a face) Which is of course always followed up by the worst thing you can ask a Black woman… come on now we all know what’s coming, “I- can I touch your hair?” No ma’am, you can never, nor will you ever touch my hair. (Laughs) This happens to us in real life. (Laughs) Okay, so that wasn’t so much of a joke because it happens, but it’s always funny to me. (She grabs another piece of paper reading under her breath) Black hair, no you can’t touch it. (To audience) Yep, that’s it. I guess I’m not as good or bad at this is a thought I was. But that’s what I try to do, you get it? When I was a kid, I hit my knee on the edge of the table and it started bleeding. I fell to the ground and my dad lay next to me laughing. He’s crying hysterically and I am screaming hysterically in pain until eventually I start laughing too. The laughs took the pain away.

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