Tierra Hudson / Moriarty

I’m Tierra Hudson. I go to Moriarty High School… so this year I’m a senior, and it’s been a crazy year. Everyone says senior year is so easy, it’s a breeze. No, they lied (laughter)… It’s pretty rough (laughter)… Yeah so I live in a rural part of town and my biggest thing is opportunity, so I’m always looking for opportunity. I have a brother and a sister that’s younger. I’m the oldest in the family so I think that really affects a person’s personality when you figure out where they are at. I’m the oldest, I’m like the mom of everything. Just last year, I had the opportunity to do a project called national history day. And I got to pick a creative platform to do research on a history topic. So they give you a theme and last year’s theme was “Leadership and legacy”. And so like my biggest passion is like multicultural people… especially African-American women. Because I feel like a lot of times in history they get put at the shorter end just because they are women and they are of color, so that’s really where my passion lies. So I did a project on Loving vs. Virginia which is an interracial marriage and the couple that started it, Richard and Mildred. I did a bunch of research on them. It’s really something you can be proud of because I had like a 30 page annotated bibliography you know and I did it with a group of three other kids and I come from an interracial marriage. My dad is African-American and Japanese and my mom is Hispanic. So I’m just this melting pot of a bunch of culture! So I did research on that, and I did a performance, so I wrote out a play. And it had to be ten minutes long and then I performed it at the regional level. Got first. At the state level, got first. So then we went on to nationals in Washington DC and this is my second time going to nationals through National History Day. The first time I went was in 8th grade. I did a project on Marian Anderson and she’s awesome. I love doing research because you think you know something but you don’t really know. I found out that she’s an opera singer and whenever she came to sing in Washington D.C. they denied her because of her color. And so Eleanor Roosevelt, she was a part of the Daughters of the Revolution, and she resigned because the Daughters of the Revolution were denying Marian Anderson. And so they paired up together and she’s the one that set the precedence for the Lincoln memorial to be like a place for civil rights. She sang on the steps way before Martin Luther King was giving his speech. That was like crazy to me because no one really knows that. Like she set the precedence for Abraham Lincoln. 

In DC this last year, we made national finals. Which was crazy because, like I was saying we’re from a rural town and it’s just….It was a lot of hard work and though. And my teacher she’s amazing. So we performed for finals and we ended up ranking 11th in the world. So it was just like one of the craziest thing in my entire life. It’s like when you put a lot of hard work into something and finally see something you know like pay off it was really rewarding.

…So starting senior year this year I joined We The People…I’m Unit 5. So I’m all about human rights, just people’s rights. And um I love my unit, like I’m really passionate about people’s rights. We went to state competition, we got first. So we’re going to nationals here in a couple weeks on April. I’ll be in DC for the national competition. So I’m really excited about that.

Also this year I applied for the Gates Millennium [scholarship]… It’s through Bill Gates, it’s a full ride anywhere in the country, and so I’m a finalist. I will find out if I’m a finalist in March. The craziest thing in my life again because it was eight essays. I wrote eight essays. And all my teachers and some of the teachers I had recommend me and write all the stuff, they told me “Tia, don’t get your hopes up” you know, “it’s a nationwide scholarship it’s a big deal”. So I found out I am a finalist and it rocked my world. It was very crazy and so I’m like in this weird place, because I’m like waiting for like an answer, so I just trying get that all [together]. But for sure next year I’m going to go to UNM, the first semester no matter what. Brandy, she really has a good platform for me over there and I know a lot of people. So I’m excited to start off at UNM but if I do, hopefully, if I do get Gates, then I think I might leave New Mexico. But that’s where I’m at right now.

So the last essay you got to write was free-write; whatever you want to talk about. So I talked about multiculturalism and me being three different races. and it’s a challenge and often and an overlooked challenge because people….I’m not black enough for the black club, not Hispanic enough to be with the Latinas, I’m not Japanese enough to even be around that category but I was raised in a Hispanic home so that’s like where my heart is. Like that’s who I feel that I am. But I’m passionate about all my cultures. But I talked about how I just want to start a new generation, that people don’t see you as your race, or that you have to fit into these stereotypes anymore. So like that’s what I’m working towards that right now. To start a movement to be like, let’s not look at race, let’s form a people.

I think New Mexico is a great place to be, of color. We lived in Albuquerque probably until I was three and then we moved out here to Moriarty. My grandma, my mom’s mom, she had fourteen brothers and sisters. They lived on a ranch a little further past Moriarty, but Moriarty is where all my family is. My whole neighborhood is my aunts, my great aunts, my great uncles. So I’m very family rooted. My dad, his dad was in the military, and he met my grandma in Japan and brought her back to New Mexico…because that’s where he was stationed. And they just ended up staying here. Yeah, both my parents were born and raised in New Mexico. I think the coolest thing though about living in Moriarty….it’s like a smaller scale. So like even at my high school kids are allowed to be individuals. It’s not so clique-y. I have seven cousins that I’m graduating with this year. Yeah so everything is very family oriented. In our talks in We The People we talk about race and all that stuff but I honestly believe that New Mexico is a great place to be multicultural. We don’t see really the effects of racism. It’s alive, it’s probably around, but it’s not as harsh in New Mexico so I really think this is a good place for people to thrive.

At my high school I’m probably 1 of 5 of African-Americans. And the way I look people are going to perceive as African-American you know? So that’s how I carry myself. I try to carry myself positively. I want to say it’s not hard, but it’s a little more difficult because I’m finding a place where I feel like I belong. Especially being in a rural area, I don’t have a lot of people; I mean I have my family you know. But the other thing is I have a lot of kids in my high school who will tell me “you’re getting these opportunities because of your race” you know, “because you have these things”. And, it’s at the point where I’m just like, I’ve worked hard for where I come from and if my race has anything to do with it, awesome. But I’ve gotten here because of the choices I’ve made and how hard I’ve worked. So I think that’s one negative living rurally. I feel like a little bit more outcasted you know? Especially like everyone knows who I am. I’m student council president, I’m national honors society president, I’m very known in my community. So um I see that’s one of the things. I wanted to start a Black Student Union at my high school. Even though there’s only 5 of us. For next generations. Because I have my brothers and sisters coming up….just to show younger generations it’s okay. At my high school Black History Month isn’t something that really like is talked about or celebrated like they’ll put up some posters and but it’s like no one really talks about it. So that’s one thing about living in a rural area. I don’t think I really get that way to be proud of my culture, show how proud of my culture because I think people would be like “whoa Tia” haha you know what I mean?

I’m excited and scared at the same time. I feel like I need more room to grow. If that makes sense. I’m really excited just to start new things. Especially with Brandy Wells. She’s really like my guardian angel. She went to my high school and I saw her go through high school which really like, you know pushed me, she always pushed herself really hard. I like follow in her footstep kind of, but like still be myself. I think UNM is an amazing college. So I’m really excited to be at UNM. Very excited. Like all my family is there. Like right now, I don’t want to make the wrong decision, you know? A lot of people will tell me, or not tell me but like look kind of down on me that I’m going to UNM and especially with the accomplishments that I have. I didn’t apply anywhere out of state. Like I wanted to but I was like mmmm I’m gonna go to UNM (laughter)….It’s a hard feeling because I feel like…you don’t want to let people down but at the end of the day it’s what I want. So I stuck with it and I’m gonna go to UNM for sure. I have all my stuff ready to go over there. But it’s still….I just really want to be on campus. To know what it’s like. Because even just walking through UNM is so diverse. It’s crazy. Like I never realized how diverse it was when I actually went on campus. So I’m excited for that.

I honestly think New Mexico is the greatest place you could ever [be]. Like just to get a difference, this weekend I was in Denver with my friend. And her aunt and uncle just adopted an African-American baby. Like there’s no question about it, the baby’s dark (laughter). And when we would go out….they would assume that I was the mom. Like I was playing team mom this weekend because people would assume. Like even I had this African-American man come up to me and said “whose baby is that”. I was like “it’s their baby, it’s their baby”. And I didn’t even say she was adopted, just “that’s their baby”. Just in Denver it was very real to me too. We got so many different stares. And then like uh, even within my family, I’m always around my mom’s side. So when I’m out with my aunt, my nino and my nina, it’s like…they look at me like she’s probably adopted. I travel with them a lot. But here in NM I feel right at home. I don’t feel like odd-balled out. I don’t feel like people are looking at me weird. I think this is a place for multicultural people to thrive, or just people of culture to thrive. I mean ultimately when I think about it, I don’t understand why people have those feelings that way because we’re all foreign to this land. Everyone is very foreign to America in general.

My mom, we just recently bought this book, and traced out ancestry back to Spain. So my mom, both of her parents. But they are from here. Like born and raised. They ranch here. So they’ve lived in Moriarty for the longest time. And then my dad is so cool. I really appreciate both my parents because I’m always getting these different perspectives you know? My dad, his dad, was born and raised in Mississippi, where racism is very real. So that was instilled into my dad. Like racism is very real. You need to be cautious. And then his mom was total foreign. My grandma is hilarious. She’s Japanese, she has a real bad heavy accent, but my grandpa taught her English. So she speaks like she’s from Mississippi like a southern girl from Mississippi. So I get a different cultural perspective from her because she’s all about, you know your elders, she favors boys, that’s just how their culture is. I have all these different perspectives within my family so I feel that has really given met this open outlookt. Everyone’s different, where they come from. I appreciate how my mom was raised and how my dad was raised and then how they raised me with all these different perspectives. I’m open to keep growing from there.

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So my uncle, from my dad’s side, he’s raising a family, he’s raising twins and then an older son. And they live in Rio Rancho. And just recently…a little girl, she was white…she went up to my little cousin, he’s five, and said “you’re black”. And he was like “what?! I’m brown!” he was looking at his skin “I’m brown” (laughter). Because they haven’t had the talk with him yet like, you’re black, you know that conversation. And it’s just like weird to me that we don’t grow up knowing race or color or something like that. Especially in the U.S., I did a lot of research on this for my projects, in the U.S. that’s where we got white and black. Because if you go to Europe, you’re not going to say you’re white, you’re going to say “I’m Norwegian” or “I’m French” you know? Like in America we don’t like to do that; you’re black or you’re white. Or you have Hispanic culture in you, check the box. So I really want to stray away from the check box outlook. I talk about this a lot to a bunch of different people on just getting away from the check box mentality.

Business administration is where I’m going now. It’s safe. It’s a safe major. I could go politics, but I don’t know if I want to.  So I just want to keep my doors open. Public health I’m looking into that also. I really wanna be a leader. If that makes sense. Like I want to lead something. My ultimate goal is to have my own company. Like I’m very into fashion and music and I want to merge those worlds together. I think the goal I want to get out is go to college, get my undergrad, and see where my graduate school goes because I definitely want to be getting my masters. I wanna be up there. But I really want to start a movement. Like I’m telling myself I want to do a TedXTalk. I’m really gonna keep doing research about it and just see where it takes me. And like I really want to start a new generation of thinking.

When I was younger, freshman year, 8th grade year, I was always thinking about my future like crazy. Like I need to get out of New Mexico. And I didn’t have that appreciation yet of New Mexico until I traveled and I just did more research into American history and what it is at its core. But I want to stay in New Mexico on my own, not with my parents influence. I love my parents to death. Honestly, they really built me into the person I am today. I wouldn’t be having these opportunities or be able to speak for myself how I can without them, so definitely everything back to them. But I really want to look at it from my own perspective like living on my own. You know, once I feel like I’ve got this from New Mexico I do want to travel and maybe move. I feel like you don’t really appreciate something until you don’t have it anymore. So I really want to go, spread who I am outwards, to other places. But…my roots are here and there will always be here for my entire life. I will always give credit back to New Mexico. It makes me so mad when they go off and do really good things and they don’t want to give credit back to New Mexico. I’m like New Mexico is a great place. But I do want to move. I don’t know if it’s going to be 2 years, 1 year, a semester. I don’t know. But I do want to travel but I do see myself coming back. This is where my family is. Honestly, I can’t stress enough, New Mexico I think is the best place to be if you’re going to be multicultural or start this movement. Like I just feel everyone is so individual here and we’re not looking at people like that. At least I’m not, so I hope I can speak well for New Mexico.

Honestly I get so much joy, even just from having these conversations. It’s something people don’t really want to talk about or like to talk about. But it’s very real. Especially in New Mexico because we don’t see, at least the kids in my generation, we don’t see harsh racism, like all the kids at my school accept me for who I am. I’m searching for more opportunities, especially being from a rural part of New Mexico too. I’m looking for opportunities but I love New Mexico with all my heart.

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