The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Teacher Lesson Return to "Don't Call Me Puerto Rican, I’m Ecuadorian"
Don't Call Me Puerto Rican, I’m Ecuadorian
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Hispanic Identity

Not too many years ago, if you were a Latino New Yorker you were probably Puerto Rican. Today, however, the City’s Hispanic population is a diverse mix of Dominicans, Colombians, Bolivians, Mexicans, Chileans, Panamanians, Ecuadorians, and many others. Some older New Yorkers (including some teachers) haven’t caught up to this diversity.

In her story, Janill Briones, who’s Ecuadorian, is asked by her principal to participate in the Puerto Rican Day parade. Janill respects Puerto Ricans, but she feels special pride in her Ecuadorian heritage. She’s also quite knowledgeable about her home country (and about Puerto Rico too). Any immigrant who’s been asked, “Are you [Puerto Rican, Indian, Filipino, etc. etc.]” can relate to Janill’s story.

Janill’s essay is also an excellent model for writing about one’s racial/ethnic/national history, which your students might be able to copy. Here’s the basic outline:

1. Begin with an anecdote about being confused with another ethnic group.
2. Describe a bit about the group you are actually part of, including how that group lives in New York, a few anecdotes about life in the home country, and some facts about the home country (location, population, etc.)
3. Compare your group with another similar group.
4. Close with a description of what you like about being part of your group.
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