First Person Immigrant Stories

Kiera Wright-Ruiz

Kiera Wright-Ruiz, Korean, Ecuadorian, American 

...we all come from a background that helps enrich our lives now and helps provide more value moving forward.

Kiera: My full name is Kiara Wright-Ruiz.

Interviewer: Where are you from?

Kiera: I am from Florida.

Interviewer: When did your family first come to America?

Kiera I am half Korean and half Ecuadorian. So, on my Ecuadorian side my family came to New York in the 70s and my mom was adopted from Korea when she was 7 so that would have made her it also come to America in the 70s.

Interviewer: How do you define the word American?

Kiera: That's a loaded question. I would define American as I guess more of a mine state like a state of mind where if you believe in the ideas of like democracy and freedom, I feel like that unites a lot of us together. Obviously, there's a lot of division that happens with today's time but I think at its core that's something that threads us all.

Interviewer: Can you think back on a specific memory where you felt really, really, proud to be American?

Kiera: Last year, I guess two years ago when the Supreme Court ruled for equality for gay marriage I feel like was a big moment where I felt proud. It was the first time that, it was just the first time where like me being able to work. It was hard to do anything else because it's like even being involved in a day to day tasks like it didn't really matter what I was doing because there was such a global thing happening that it was more important to be involved with that conversation. And I felt really proud to be there and help in any way I could. So, like that year I marched in gay pride parade and so that was really cool and really fun.

Interviewer: What's one thing that you've taken from your parents - a tradition that they brought from their home countries that you feel like you applied to your life now?

Kiera It's kind of split because being that my mom side is Korean, but grew up as an American, being with American parents - I didn't really get a lot of that customs and traditions from Korean culture because she lost a lot of that, but gained new experiences with her life here. But on my Ecuadorian side I'm really obsessed with food - so food is something that has always brought my family together. My Grandma taught me how to make seco, which is like an Ecuadorian stew. If I'm feeling sick or I'm feeling down instead of making like chicken noodle soup, I'll just make seco. So, it's just a really rich flavorful broth that you just kind of let seep on the stove for a while and it's my go-to comfort food.

Interviewer: And then last question how would you define an immigrant?

Kiera I think everyone is basically an immigrant in some way. Depending on when people's family - when your family got to America it's you sometimes you lose the lose touch of like your traditions and heritage, it threw out that, but you regain so much more by living here. But I think in some way we're all immigrants and we all come from a background that helps enrich our lives now and helps provide more value moving forward.