“Different culture, social climate, everything was different and I was labeled different.”

    I haven’t personally witnessed such acts (anti-immigration hate speech), but I have seen social experiments done in the US of a woman simply asking for someone to watch her bag for a little bit and the only thing that made a difference in their response to her was her style of dress.

    When I was 8 years old, my family picked up everything and moved to the states. I was faced with learning an entirely new side of my family i hadn’t interacted with prior to. Different culture, social climate, everything was different and I was labeled different. I couldn’t make friends for the first year or so of school, which made every day a living hell as I slowly got used to being stared at sideways and whispered about. I barely understood much of what anyone was saying because of dialect differences and no one could pronounce my name properly, which led to me eventually being given the nickname ‘Alejandro’ from the lady gaga song. I did get better but those first few years were very difficult.

    Canada has always been home. But it wasn’t until I began to form a community of trusted, lifelong friends and honestly tried to form connections with my estranged family that it became a home for me.

– Alessandra, 21

Canada