My name is Darriel McBride. I am a senior at Marist College studying English with a concentration in writing and a double minor in Global Studies and Video Production. I am from the South Bronx, New York City. Since my time at Marist, I have been involved in a variety of organizations. Last year, I was President of the student club Appreciating Races and Creating Opportunities (ARCO Iris Latino). ARCO Iris Latino stands for “the Latino Rainbow” although there is an emphasis on the Hispanic culture the club aims to unite the campus community through various cultural, educational and social events. This year, I am the SGA Vice President of Academic Affairs. I sit on the Academic Affairs Committee with faculty and administrators and discuss action plans for improving academics at Marist as well as promoting diversity and multiculturalism in Marist Academia. I am one of the Co Founders of the Student Inclusiveness Committee—which was formed about a year ago. Our committee aims to promote cultural awareness on campus, freshman outreach and collaboration with the Vice President of Student Life in order to promote an inclusive campus environment. Aside from this, I am also a choreographer for the Marist College Dance Ensemble. I truly enjoy being able to teach Bachata and Salsa classes as a way to promote the Latin/Hispanic culture.
I am a bi-racial American and identify as Afro-Latina. My mother is Puerto Rican and my father is African American. I love everything about my heritage from the music to the food! I grew up in an English-speaking household, but that did not stop me from falling in love with my mother’s and mi abuela’s sweet platanos, arroz con gandules, pollo y habichuelas. If it were up to me, I would eat sweet plantains, rice, beans and chicken everyday! Don’t even get me started on when my mom makes pernil! It’s the best pork shoulder in the country, honestly. Being both African American and Puerto Rican was quite a challenge for me, feeling as though I had to pick a side, but the more I practiced the language the closer I felt to my Latin heritage. Even when I didn’t always know what my friends were saying when they spoke to me in Spanish, it didn’t matter. I still felt closer to my heritage than ever. It didn’t matter where I was when I heard Mark Anthony’s Vivir Mi Vida or Aventura’s Mi Corazoncito. I grew up listening to Selena, La India, and old Salsa singers as well as merengue and reggaeton. Whenever my sister wasn’t blasting Don Omar in our room my mother would be blasting her favorite salsa songs while I helped her clean the house. We both loved the rhythm of the congas. “You hear that? That’s in your blood” She would always say and every June 12th I would go with my family to the Puerto Rican Day Parade. I never felt so proud to say that I was Puerto Rican. Being Latina means more than just knowing how to dance and cook. It means knowing how to have thick skin and chase your dreams because you know how much your ancestors sacrificed for you. You know how much you’ve been deprived and even though being Latina means we are born into a marginalized identity, it only makes me love my culture even more. And like we always say, yo soy boriqua, pa’que tu lo sepas! I am Puerto Rican just so you know.