Throwback Thursday: Milani Varela

Picture this: Humboldt Park in Chicago, IL

The year is 1993, at that time it was me, momma, dad, and my greñuda little sister living in the basement of my family’s building. That’s me pictured in the shades. I felt so cool with wearing those glasses. I don’t know exactly why I put them on but I remember feeling FIERCE! Being extra as always. 

Looking at the furniture brings back many memories of where we came from. Everything was always from a Goodwill store or donated from family members. I actually still remember that sweater. 

This picture actually humbles me and reminds me of where I came from, the struggle we all have gone through to get where we are. I mean, look at my sisters hair. She gone kill me for this pic! 

You see the thing is we grew up very poor. Being the oldest of all my siblings gave me that feeling that I one day had to get my family out of there. So I always tried my best to do good in school and everything in life. Due to the language barrier, my parents were not able to help me with my school work, which meant I had to work extra hard. I was in a gifted program in elementary school and then went on to attend one of the best high schools in Illinois. This has allowed me to have so many opportunities. 

Due to the pandemic, we experienced homelessness last year but we never gave up tho. It took hard work and perseverance and we all bought our first home which has allowed us to all to be together again. 11 of us, two dogs, and, well, I count my drag self as another person because it is as another person. So let’s say 12 plus 2 dogs. A dream come true. 

You see, when families come together and support each other, anything can happen. Regardless of what you consider a family, it’s important that we always stick together.

Milani Varela (She/He)
Gran Varones Fellow
Chicago, Illinois

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *