Please Stop Making Assumptions From My Last Name

Please Stop Making Assumptions From My Last Name

The police officer gave me a ticket and on it under race he wrote "Hispanic" without ever asking.


In the 2nd grade, my teachers had plucked me from my regular class room and placed me in the unfamiliar world of the ELL program. From then on, I would spend portions of my days in the ELL classroom, hearing barely any english. At eight years old I was really confused about why I was there. Why couldn't I be with my friends in class. Why instead of doing plays was I shown flashcards with photos on them and asked what these words were called? Why did I spend majority of my day in a small classroom hearings words that I didn't know or understand. My teachers told me, that it would help my speaking. And my ELL teacher told me, "Its okay, its a safe environment here. You can speak Spanish."

My last name is Fernandez. F-E-R-N-A-N-D-E-Z. And its the hispanic community, its the 28th most popular surname. But, I am not hispanic. My last name, despite having a strong hispanic presence, roots me in no way back to a latino background. Instead, my last night roots be back to my Portuguese roots. Roots that I am proud of. Roots that represent my family and I. Just like how hispanic roots would connect someone else family and themselves if they are from a latino background. So, please stop hearing my last name and immdediently assume hispanic.

"Your last name is Fernandez?" A girl at a party asked me after adding me onto snap chat.


"But, you don't look hispanic?"

Well, because I'not.

I got pulled over last year. The police officer gave me a ticket and on it under race he wrote "Hispanic" without ever asking.

Getting nominated for latino scholarships.

Getting into programs because of "my" ethic minority.

Over and over again, the assumptions people make and the stereotypes they have of enthicity groups has caused barriers and assumptions to be made by others. Its not fair to assume another thing about someone. To put those ties and labels on them. If I was hispanic, I would cherish that part of my life. But I am not. I'm a portugues-italian women, who has had part of my identity controlled by others assumptions.

Its not fair or right, that peoples lives should be dictated by assumptions. Its not fair that 8 year old me was placed in a spanish speaking program when I was younger to help make school and learning english easier for me. Its not fair, that families background is silenced by the sterotypes people have made over time.

Don't make assumptions about my last name. It sucks the same when someone looks at me and says, "You don't look hawaiin...hawaiin people look like this...". When you make assumptions about people you are silencing them. You are telling them who they are and how the public should see them. Its not fair, its not right and its disgusting.

If I was a latina girl, I would be damn proud of that. But I am not. Instead, I am a proud Portuguese - Italian girl. I am proud of my roots.

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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.

Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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The Rejuvenating Qualities Of Panama City Beach

There are definitely some healing properties in these ocean waves.


We have gone to the beach quite a few times this summer season. We live around 2 hours away and try to make it to Panama City Beach at least once a week. It's a venture for sure, but compared to the 7-day drive from The Rockies of Colorado to the Peanut Capital of the World, Dothan, Alabama (a time in which no one has heard of) we can't really make any excuses.

Now, I am sitting here typing away in the early morning while watching a summer storm blow in over the sea but, make no doubt about it, the ocean and its shores are one of the most healing, rejuvenating places on this planet. There is a calm in the break of the waves on the shoreline, and yet it pairs with an unspoken knowledge that the ocean is this uncontrollable force.

This isn't a speech on saving the planet and being eco-friendly, recycling and watching out for our beaches, which is a topic I am very passionate about and a post I would totally create. This is simply an open letter to those who might need to get away in order to revive their souls.

If you are anything like me, you have emotions pulsing through you at all times, ideas about everything under the sun, a longing to explore and adventure, and a deep need for rest, all at the same time. There are not many things in this world that truly satisfy me. There is a lot of disappointment. There is a lot of wrongdoing and suffering. It's overwhelming.

That is why I come to the beach. It removes the overwhelming things.

You see, there is nothing complicated about the waves (unless you make it complicated, but we stay away from people like you). They are simple. They are peaceful. And 99% of the time in my life that is what I need, simplicity and peace. I over-complicate things myself, I make excuses and I feel hurt in most moments of my life. I lived an exposed, vulnerable lifestyle that drains me.

That is why I love the ocean. It replenishes my drained soul. It energizes me. It is motivating and inspiring, relaxing and unwinding.

I don't pass out advice. I never have. I do, however, try living an honest life, always in the moment, so I can share my experiences in hopes that others might find them helpful. That is precisely why I am writing this. Because if you could just get to the beach, to a shoreline, it might change you. Seeing this vast landscape changes your perspective on the situations in your life you thought might overtake you.

The ocean speaks. It heals. It tells your worries to cease and your mind to rest. It tells your body to relax and your busy schedule that there IS time to take a moment. Don't forget to take a moment for yourself this summer season.

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