Reclaiming My Name and My Culture

by Yesenia Gonzalez, Communications Associate for the Backbone Team & RMP Community Weaver

My name is Yesenia Gonzalez, and I serve as the Communications Associate for the Rocky Mountain Partnership Backbone Team, and as a Community Weaver. But until recently, most people have called me Jessy. In my time here, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in StriveTogether‘s Latinx Affinity group and connect with other Latinx-identifying Backbone staff from Partnerships across the nation.

During one call, we talked about the importance of not changing my name to something that is easier for other people to pronounce and to teach others how to properly pronounce since it holds a huge piece of who I am. I resonate with this because growing up, I had to sacrifice a part of my identity without even being aware since it made it convenient for others to pronounce Jessy rather than Yesenia and I want to change that for myself.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”Pages Matam, Elizabeth Acevedo & G. Yamazawa” link=”″ color=”#62B1B8″ class=”” size=””]My name wasn’t given to me, it was given to the rest of the country.[/perfectpullquote]

We watched a video during that call called “Unforgettable” that really resonated with me and I think is too powerful not to share. You can view that video HERE

Going forward, I am reclaiming my name, and my culture, by asking people to address me as Yesenia. That is the name my parents gave me and it holds so much of my culture within it, and I want to start taking pride in that.

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