Photograph by Taisa Strouse

Tatiana Barnes

A Double Life

“Never having the chance to speak my truth, I continue to live a double life between my home and school..."

“Over the weekend, as angry and frustrated as I was, I did not spend my time worrying about the comments that had been made last week. Instead searching for something in myself. I wasn’t sure what the end goal would be, but I was searching for the reason why I’ve been so affected by someone’s words. Usually, it’s said that sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. But why where those specific words so painful? 

The truth is, in fact my truth is that I take the words 305 till I die quite seriously. As many of you know, I’ve worn the titles of many things that represent Liberty City. Such as being a teaching fellow with Breakthrough Miami and coaching the cheerleaders of the Liberty City Warriors. I plugged the show every time we met because my kids were on TV doing big things. After spending hours of yelling and teaching and yelling, I feel protective over these kids who mean so much to me. Once a week, every few weeks, I find myself at a Miami Northwestern football game cheering on people I don’t know. I wear blue and gold strategically like I attend the West if anyone noticed. Call me an optimist, but I try to see the best and the beauty in everything. But why should I care? Imma [sic] a Country Day kid now. Working with the kids who live in those concrete mansions also known as the projects had a lasting affect on me. I stay around the corner from the projects on 13th avenue and see the different lives we live. I have a ride to school every morning while some kids walk. I get to use a laptop everyday while some kids still write notes by hand. I attend school in Miami shores in the nice big pretty buildings and security. So to most, Miami Shores is such a prettier place. 

But I see the beauty and a culture that not many do. Kids like myself playing in the street and running in the house before the street lights coming on. I’ve seen alumni young and old stand tall and proud at Northwestern games singing their alma mater with pride. Chasing the ice cream truck down the street and walking to the corner store are fond memories that I have. The talent that comes out of the pork and beans is unmatched. 

These things are sacred to me and that’s why I’m so protective over Liberty City. I say the words Dade County and 305 with much more pride than the average person. But I still can’t tell you why that comment made me as upset as it did. So I understand why you all are frustrated because I am too. All I know is my hometown that has shaped me and allowed to be here today. All I know ]I am a proudly that I put on for Liberty City everyday and that’ll never change.”[sic]

“Never having the chance to speak my truth, I continue to live a double life between my home and school community: days in Miami Shores and nights in Liberty City.”

– Tatiana Barnes


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