When my grandparents came to the United States, they made the choice to de-ethnicized their last name. They went from being the Perivolaris family, coming from a small Greek island off the coast of Turkey, called Xios, to the “Perry family,” a more American, more anglicanized-sounding family pursuing a new life. This dream came with sacrifice, both mental and physical. They were not free to be who they fully were or safe to honor where we came from. This story is one of many we are too familiar with.
It’s hard for me to understand their need for our family’s name-change, as I feel it erases who we are and where we came from, but I try understand their need to feel more worthy or to make money so that their children and grandchildren could have access to more opportunities and a better life than they had. In this erasure, they were able to build a foundation for us, but they seemed to suffer a great deal. My dad died young and used his last breath to make sure my mom could survive alone, raising two young children without him here. This work is dedicated to him and all of my ancestors.
Without the sacrifice and resilience of them, I don’t know where I’d be. Everything I am is directly related to what they achieved and could not achieve before me. I have four resilient grandparents of Mediterranean descent who gave me a start – Stam, Sophia, Dominick and Anna.
The work we create is intended for those who wish to live their authenticity and honor truth. Our work is a celebration and an exploration of identity, which can now exist in the light. This is to us – changing the story – and finally telling ours. Let us not keep what was beautiful, mystical and ancient in the dark any longer. Instead, may we create a portal to open up to every angle of humanity and find joy and comfort in our authenticity and connection.
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.