Life Academy Perspectives: Our Identities

By Jai Martinez, Sophomore

To listen to the audio: Separated


 Have you ever noticed how people are more comfortable with those who are similar to them? Segregation is around, it may not be as open as it once was, but it is definitely around.

Just take a look at my apartment building. Hispanics live on the first floor, blacks live on the second, while there is a mixture of races living on the third floor; I live on the third floor.

When I first noticed this about my apartment I thought it was a funny coincidence.

Later, after giving it some thought it became clear to me that it was not just a coincidence but that each race lived on a specific floor because people are much more comfortable with people who share the same color skin as them.

Even at school, I find my school to be like my apartment complex—every race hanging out in their own little group. Of course people want to live with others who they feel more comfortable with.

But how will they learn to feel comfortable with others if they don’t take a chance?

Where I live, on the third floor, there is no specific race. This is because people on the third floor don’t judge others based on race. I’ve noticed that people on the third floor interact with each other more than people on the other floors. People on the third floor start conversations with me, unlike the others. Sure, people on the other floors give me the occasional ‘’Hi’’ or ‘’Good morning’’ sometimes, but they never attempt to carry on a conversation with me.

While segregation may not be intentional, the world is more segregated than it looks. If more people pushed themselves out of their comfort zone, maybe the world would have less racial tension.

With a perspective, I am Jai Martinez.


By Raba Sbeih-Rosales, Sophomore

To listen to the audio:Three Lives in One

Three Lives in One

I live three lives in one. I live as an American that desires my independence. I live as a Palestinian that holds onto my religion. And I live as a Latina who values family and togetherness. These three cultures clash— in many ways they are very different.

As an American I like to be alone and just hear the sound of the keyboard as I communicate with my friends online. I enjoy dying my hair every month just to have a new look and having that fresh new swag. Going outside with my friends, spending my time with them at the movies just licking my fingers all greasy from the buttery popcorn. And of course, I love to spend money. Well, what can I say, I’m American.

As a Palestinian I love the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is when we fast from daylight to sunset everyday until a month is completed. We start Ramadan by the sighting of the moon. After Ramadan is over, we have three days to celebrate and it’s called the Eid. During this whole month, I get back on track with my thoughts and I recall that I need to thank God for what I have. This month reminds me of who I am, a Palestinian.

As a Latina I love to be with my family. I go to Mexico every two years with my parents, taking a long road trip south. It takes about three days to get there and I spend the whole time just talking with my parents and siblings. When we are in Mexico, our entire family is always together and we enjoy the little things. We go to the la playa, eat carne asada, and take pictures as we listen to Arabic music in Spanish. Because I’m Mexican, even after I leave, my family always stays in touch.

While these cultures may seem like they clash—and in many ways they do—for me, they work together perfectly. And all these three cultures come together to create one life, one unique, open-minded person.

From a girl with three perspectives, I’m Raba Sbeih-Rosales.


By Christian Cox, Sophomore

To listen to the audio:  Fountain of Youth

Fountain of Youth

I remember being five, feeling all-powerful and imagining all the amazing things I could do.

Most of these memories involve my grandma, who was taking care of me because my parents were working.

I remember she use to go and take me everyday to go eat some tamales and drink atolé with her at the intersection of Fruitvale and 15th street.

Even the Asian shop owners still remember me from when I was barely learning how to walk.

My grandma always reminds me of these times—the tears that would stream down my face after my parents dropped me off.

She never fails to remind of the embarrassing times as well. She told me the other day that she plans to tell my girlfriend about the time I peed myself and didn’t have any spare clothes, so I had to walk around in my red and white car underwear and a shirt that barely fit.

Last year when my mom was in the hospital, my grandma was the one crying because she didn’t think my mom would make it. I stayed with her at her apartment and comforted her for hours on end.

I got her to reminisce about her childhood back in México.

She talked to me about working in the fields at such a young age.

She told me how her suegra or mother-in-law did not like her, which is pretty ironic because the same thing is going on with my life.

She told me to stay with my girlfriend, “por lo bueno y lo malo,” and that love will always prevail. My grandmother has been through a lot.

Even though my grandfather wasn’t always the man he should be, she stood by his side.

My grandmother always gives me the benefit of the doubt. She sees the good in me and has shown me to see the good in others.

My abuela’s enthusiasm, wisdom, and character are examples for me as to what a person should be.

My abuela never fails to remind me of what its like being five again.

She reminds me of the feeling of being all-powerful again. Of imagining all the amazing things I can achieve in life.

My abuela is my motivation to do great in school and have my own grandkids someday to make them feel the same way I did when I was five.

With a perspective, I’m Christian Cox Diaz


By Natalia Espinoza, Sophomore

To listen to the audio:Same Light Brown Eyes

Same Light Brown Eyes

Since I was a little girl I’ve always thought I was different from my siblings. My skin is lighter, my hair is wavy, my eyes are light brown and I don’t look anything like them. I remember one day asking my mom point blank if I was adopted “No, eres mi hija” she said. I asked her if I had a different father “No, tu papa es el mismo que tus hermanos”. I believed her until the day I met him.

On January 18 2012, I was checking my Facebook and just as I was about to hit the log out button I received a private message from someone I didn’t know. At first I thought about deleting it but them my curiosity got the best of me. As I started reading those Spanish words my eyes filled with tears and soon I understood what he was trying to say. I know those lines by heart because those words changed my life forever. As I read “Mi amor quiero confesarte que soy tu papa” (My love I want to confess to you that I’m your dad) I found myself in complete shock. I felt like the world had stopped and I was an ice sculpture because I couldn’t move or speak, I could only feel tears running down my face.

It was then when I realized what I just read. I had a dad, one that had been looking for me, one that really cared about me, one that shared the same light skin, wavy hair and light brown eyes as me.

Even though I’m relieved about where I come from, I know that my family will have some issues accepting me because of their beliefs of “pure blood kids”, I don’t really know why they think that way but I don’t really care because at the end I know I’m different from them.

With a perspective, I’m Natalia Espinoza

Edited By Yuvitza Rivera, Sophomore


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