Name: Meera Chhedi
Born: New York
Lives: Trinidad and Tobago
One of June’s topic recognitions is Caribbean Heritage Month. One of the lesser-known dynamics of Caribbean history and identity is the Into-Caribbean community – a descendant product of indentureship and colonialism.
My passion topic is sharing my Caribbean background and reciting my ancestry story so it can be more understood. My collective experiences in moving from my home from Trinidad and Tobago at 18 and trying to understand and rebuild my identity in the American context is the key to making me the woman I am today. Identity has been a conscious process. Being shunned, criticized, and experiencing racism triggered a reaction to assimilate and hide my culture.
I accepted ambiguity and breathed a sigh of relief when I felt I could blend in or be accepted. I did not realize hiding who I was to assimilate was stressful and depressing. In the past few years through various opportunities to be involved in community projects and my desire to teach my children their history I have been reshaping my love and understanding of my culture and no longer keeping this side of myself private.
For May – Indenture History month and June – Caribbean heritage month I used my personal platform to share a visual part of my story.
Water always makes me think of travel, leaving one land for another. The hardships of crossing unknown waters over a century ago and the legacy of survival is part of my ancestral story. I think of their sacrifices and hardships a lot and my soul connects to this historical journey.