This is Terry
I am of the Luo ethnic group born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. The Luo people migrated from the South of Egypt to Kenya and were once part of a Kingdom known as Napata between 5500 BC and 3500BC. Over the centuries due to numerous wars and invasions by other ethnic groups in the region, they migrated south and found their home on the basin of the source of the Nile, Lake Victoria,in East Africa.
My story begins here, because for the longest time this is how I defined myself and this still is what I prefer to identify as, as a Luo. After high school, I chose UBC because i got an unconditional offer but more importantly finding my individuality, and knowing who I am was at the top of what I wanted to achieve in University. I knew I had to go somewhere that challenged my identity, and left me with no choice but to love and own my individuality.
As a UBC student, my identity has evolved in many ways. Many would just see me as an African and at most Kenyan, through this I realized how little my ethnic group was known. I found that my identity was constantly reduced to black, and stopped at that, taking away centuries of history, culture and a language that i identified with.
During my journey my hair added yet another dynamic. Usually I would have it in braids but because braiding in Vancouver is about ten times as expensive as braiding my hair in Kenya, I decided to just rock my afro and in the process learn how to take care of my own hair. My hair journey brought an interesting dynamic to my evolution for this was an aesthetic part of my identity which I had to first get used to, feel comfortable in then love and accept my difference, in a city where I was and still am a minority.
Many things are a contest but I believe beauty should not be one of them. Beauty suggests artistry and as with all art we should celebrate diversity.
Acceptance of diversity is powerful. It has the power to helping different sectors of the society build bridges of love and acceptance in areas where there once were none.
Diversity should be celebrated between cultures, within cultures, between genders and within genders, in nations and hopefully one day globally.