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“I am okay with being who I am. I love sharing who I am. So here we are”. 

 

“I am a child of refugee parents who fled through the ruin of a genocide to get to Kenya.  I was raised in Nairobi—a blessing—where I learned about the culture…but had that feeling that I am not home. 

That feeling of being different from all the communities I have belonged to. 

 

As much as I love to say that I'm Kenyan, I'm not Kenyan. I'm actually Rwandan, my parents' nationality.

And now, I’m American—and as a black American, the Black Lives Matter movement greatly affected me. 

 

That part of me, just wanting to fit in, pushed me to let me be myself. Why am I trying to check off all these boxes?

I was born Arlette, so I'm going to live out my life to be Arlette. 

 

I think it's a very honest question: “What is one thing society's missing?” I feel like [it is] the ability to be vulnerable and to allow yourself to be who you are.  We've gotten so used to saying ‘I'm okay,’ but in reality you're not. 

 

Life is hard, but life is worth living at the same time. The key is to allow yourself to show your true self…being

vulnerable will allow us to connect on that level. 

 

My advice on how to just, in a sense, ‘be yourself’... wake up and appreciate that you are breathing.

That first glimpse of light you get, just take it in. Take in that you are alive

 

Be grateful for the little things that you get to encounter because you never know when life is going to switch up.

Take that time to just slowly be thankful. 

 

Humans are the ones who make me thankful…My biggest goal is to allow others to be themselves. That's what I live for—by asking myself, “How am I going to respect [this person] as an individual and make sure that their feelings are validated? [Through this,] I get to connect 

with so many different people. 

 

I love getting to take the time to learn who's my neighbor, who's my driver, who's the security guard. If there’s a spark [in conversation];one question can lead to a venture, an event, a memory, a story. 

 

I could sit here and share a whole list of people who inspire me today. 

 

Humanity is the greatest thing that's ever existed on Earth – and we've got the chance to prove it.”

-Arlette Marie Munyankindi