My Flag

American flag with certificate
American flag with certificate

I've always had a stationary family history. I never had any cultural traditions like making spaghetti sauce every week or speaking two languages at home. My parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were all born in the Tristate area. I myself was born and raised on Staten Island and am about to bring my newborn daughter home to the same condo that my parents brought me home to almost 22 years ago. So how can I have a migration story? I will tell you how: I am a New Yorker.
 Where do you find a greater crossroad of history than here in the city? My homeland lays claim to every heritage under the sun, making me the Mutt of the UN. I can enjoy hip hop with my high school students, drink Russian tea with my next door neighbors, converse in Spanish with my classmates, and eat Challah bread at Shabbat dinners. I can call each of these cultures my own, not because I'm related to anyone from these backgrounds, but because as a New Yorker, I was born into every background.
 Thus my choice of object: my American flag and its certificate stating that it flew over the Capitol on my birthday the year I graduated eighth grade. Everything I am is represented here. I may not have migrated to get here, but someone did. Someone's family worked, saved, bought boat tickets, and came to New York. They chose to stay and develop the culture of diversity that has shaped me my whole life. I am privileged to have shared many cultures with many people. I cannot ask for a better heritage than that.

Place(s): New York, Staten Island
Year: 1995

– Marissa Garzetta

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more