The Vermont Connection


The educational system perpetuates capitalism and material wealth, valuing White and Western ideologies, thus alienating certain identities and narratives. As a first-generation and low-income child of APIDA immigrants, I strive to bring awareness to cultural wealth due to the erasure of marginalized identities and narratives. Rather than just focusing on the struggles of holding multiple marginalized identities, I showcase the joys of practices and traditions in my culture and highlight the hope my communities give me as a descendant of militants and revolutionaries. In this article, I raise awareness of lived experiences that are often left out of the educational pedagogy and institutional structure that is not made for everyone. I will share a personal narrative to explain my first defining experience within an oppressive system. I will reflect on how this experience and researching cultural wealth theory led to newfound compassion for myself, my family and how they persevered, my ancestors and how they inspired me, as well as action and optimism in higher education. This article is intended for readers who struggle to share deeply personal and heavy stories, especially after having dealt with discrimination and exclusion. The intention is that readers will nourish their roots by telling their stories, nourishing the educational space with their lived experiences and the unapologetic love they have for themselves. Also, this article will serve as a reference for higher education practitioners to incorporate more inclusive exercises and practices so we may embrace cultural sensitivity and humility in the academy. By exploring a more liberatory praxis in academia which often denies such notions, we will be able to center marginalized identities and narratives and transform higher education, starting with honoring and celebrating ourselves and our identities with the utmost hope, joy, and love.