Op-Ed: How I learned to embrace my Black and Jewish heritage
By David Charihopuri
I am an only child of a Black and Jewish father and Irish mother. I am also an artist, and I use art as an outlet that allows me as a teenager to express my feelings about racism and sexism.
As a teenager, I also realized that the world around me was not my oyster. Being a part of that world was also not about being an adult and having more options in life. It was a time when I had to constantly fight to get my needs met. In that battle for acceptance and validation, I learned that it’s the way I feel about myself and what I value, not the way the world sees me, that gets me through that daily struggle. It is by knowing and believing in yourself that you can conquer the world at the same time. You have to believe that you can succeed with the effort you put in. And in that, you have the power to change the way others think about and perceive you.
It took me time, but I came to a place where I realized that I was not just an “other”: I was special and important and full of potential. I knew that I could and would make a difference in this world and that every day would be a new day.
It is in those moments when we realize how far we have traveled and how far we still have to go that we begin to appreciate the gifts we were given.
As I reflect on those early struggles, I reflect on the people from the past that have gone before me. We’ve seen a lot of changes in the last few months, and I can’t help but think about how I am fortunate to be in a time that is allowing me to continue down this journey with them.
I had thought about this when I decided to take the time to sit down and write about these events in a story. It felt so good to give voice to those who have gone before. To share their stories and stories of