When my grandparents came to the U.S., they made the choice to de-ethnicise their last name, in order to start a business. To be fair, the decision made them. They went from being the Perivolaris family, coming from a small island in the Mediterranean, named Xios, to the “Perry family,” an American, now anglicanized family pursuing a dream. It was a dream with a lot of sacrifice, both mental and physical. It came with a price tag – we were not free to be who we fully were or safe to honor where we came from. This story is one of many, we, as a country, are too familiar with.
Looking back, I cannot determine whether or not their name-change contributed to them working harder and getting themselves to a place where they could give their children and descendants a better education, a better life, and fewer reasons to suffer as they did.
My dad died young and used his last breath to make sure my mom, my sister and I would be alright without him – and I am endlessly grateful for his love and dedication to us. If I could have had my choice, I would have asked him to work less hard at the chance of having him here with me in 2022. This work is, in a great way, dedicated to him and all of my ancestors.
One thing is clear to me – without the sacrifice, resilience and hard work of my ancestors, I would not have had the opportunities that I do today. Everything I am and that I have is directly related to what they achieved and could not achieve first. And for that, I thank them. I was blessed with four resilient grandparents, who, in all of their own ways, sacrificed everything in them, for their descendants. This is for you – Stam, Sophia, Dominick and Anna – I love you all.
No matter how you identify or where you come from – the work we create is intended for you. Our work is a celebration and an exploration of our identities, which can now exist in the light. We don’t have to hide anymore. This is to us – changing the story – let us use the work that’s been done to spread love and get closer to truth. Let us not keep what was beautiful and mystical and very ancient in the dark any longer. Instead, may we create a safe zone to open up to every angle of humanity and find joy and comfort in the narrative.
Victoria is a native New Yorker, born into a Greek and Italian family. Her writing draws from her nuanced cultural and familial experience and is rooted in magical realism. She studied Creative Writing and Psychology, graduating from New York University. Victoria’s storytelling and production illuminate the power of visceral emotion and mysticism for healing and alchemizing life’s heart breaks into art. As a survivor of gun violence, Victoria is an advocate for mental health and through her artistry, she is finding her voice. She wrote, directed and performed in the teaser for “10:04,” and is excited to begin filming later this fall.
Amanda is a visual artist, writer and director based on the East Coast. Born in the Bronx to Afro-Cuban and Jamaican parents and raised in Westchester, Amanda credits her diverse upbringing for catalyzing her toward truth and social justice. Amanda writes and directs with undeniable wit, a love of human interaction, and a talent for character development, applying her academic background in sociology with a concentration in Africana studies. Amanda aims to alter the narrative and debunk stereotypes, for people of color, especially. She assisted in writing season one of independent series, Greek Honey, and single-handedly directed the pilot.