“I can be successful at ______________ even though the people at the top don’t look like me.”
One of my favorite quotes as heard this past Saturday at a forum on Dominican identity in Washington Heights, NYC, appropriately named, Quisqueya Heights.
The event was carefully coordinated by a friend of mine, Kaity Modesto. Kaity was motivated to create a dialogue where the topics of her college thesis paper on Dominican identity and the love of her neighborhood could be discussed. The panel also included: Juan Camilo – founder of Dyckman Beer Co., Jose Batista-Ayala – actor and producer of FRiENDAMiGO, Rosanny Cuello Ventura – scholar and educator in Washington Heights, and Led Black – Creator and Chief Editor of Uptown Collective and moderator of the event.
The symposium highlighted many things – many that resonated with me, a Dominican who was born and raised in Washington Heights.
The Heights’ population is majorly Dominican, either born or by descent. The neighborhood, which stretches from 155th street to Inwood, was reviewed as a not-so-desirable place to be in the 1990’s, but an up and coming neighborhood in the new millennium. Led asked the panelists questions which they all answered according to their specialities in regards to the neighborhood. There were phrases that stuck with the audience and caused the Q&A portion to escalate quicker than you can say DIMELO.
Read more: Ode To Quisqueya Heights