Yanilka Norma – Cleveland, Ohio

“A sense of unity, of peace…If we could just focus on peace on a grander scale, we could make it happen – there’s still some of us that have hope.”

“They immigrated in 1980, they caught the Mariel [Boatlift]. They came in ‘80 and I was born in ‘81.”

“I think the island is divided with those opinions and those feelings, with pro-Castro or anti-Castro. You have a group that are faithful to him, even after his death, they still idolize what he did…My father is anti-, my mother doesn’t speak much on it. I’ve gone to Cuba a few times, and I remember being 15 and there celebrating my Sweet 15, and I had mentioned something about Castro, only because I saw first-hand what my family was going through and their struggle, and I was immediately hushed because they didn’t want certain people in the neighborhood who pay attention to those kind of things to hear or see me saying those things anti-Castro.”

“It opens the doors for other opportunities if I wasn’t bilingual. Spanish was my first language in my home. My mother, she made sure we only spoke Spanish in the home and said ‘If you want to speak English with your friends when you leave the home, you can go speak English with your friends – but, as soon as you walk through that door, it’s Spanish.’”

“Cleveland has a very diverse community, and I love that about here…I am woman, Latina, Muslim. So, in this day and age, the minority of being woman, Latina, and Muslim is already three strikes, so, you have to kinda be wary of your surroundings, and I feel safe here.”

“Amongst friends we would have conversations about different beliefs and walks of life, and I’m a reader – I’m an avid reader – so I began to read different books on Islam and compare back and forth…I found that my relationship with God became stronger. I would pray and ask to guide me where he wanted me to be, and I felt comfortable. I found my peace and my relationship with God was way stronger than it had ever been in any other part of my life, so I accepted that and have been walking that path ever since. I’ve been Muslim for almost four years now, this Ramadan – this coming Ramadan will be four years.”

“Learn everything you can now, take your education seriously, get your finances together, make sure you know how to work those finances. Because the world is real and it will definitely take you for a loop, and if you don’t have that together – your credit, your education, what you want to do with yourself – you can easily get sidetracked, distracted, lost. Education is key.

“Any Clevelander, I think, will be able to tell you how loyal we are to our city. We love our city. You can see that obviously in the sports teams, because even our non-winning teams get our loyalty. We’re welcoming – and only we can talk about ourselves, not anybody else.”

Limited edition print available (alpha edition):
Giclée (Archival Inkjet) print w/ quotes, in window cutout, typed on artist’s 1955 Olympia SM3 Typewriter.
1” Matte Black Frame, 2” Ivory Mat, Archival Hinge Mount, UV Glass.
8″ x 12″ (Framed: 14″ x 18″)

Yanilka - Limited Edition Print, Framed Alpha Series
Click here for more information about limited edition prints.