Where you grew up and your background can often have surprising effects on our lives and careers. We’ve asked folks from the community to tell us about how their background has affected them.

Grace Bio | Multidisciplinary Artist

I am from Jacksonville, Fl. Me and my siblings were all born Visual Artists, so my parents were fully supportive of us pursuing our passions. With such a strong foundation and having been in Art schools most of my education, I’ve always lived my life as an Artist – seeing beyond sight and pushing boundaries. Read more>>

Pat Gordon | Children’s author, writer and singer

I’m from Long Island, New York but grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in the very Caribbean neighborhood of Crown Heights. My mother is Jamaican born, so I grew up comfortably claiming to be equal parts Jamaican and African-American. I went to school and held jobs with people from all over the world. It’s easy for me to consider myself a citizen of the planet. Read more>>

Stella Belizaire | Creator & Fashion Designer

I am born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and within my 24 years of living I’ve lived in West Palm Beach, Palm Bay & Chicago, IL when I graduated from high school. My background and upbringing has a major impact on who I am today because I was raised by both my mother and grandmother on my father side. They are both independent women and they always made it happen. My grandmother is from Haiti and doesn’t speak English, she woke up everything morning and still made a way selling clothes, food outside her house and more. My mom juggled two jobs and school with two girls. I feel that’s why both me and my sister are so independent and go getters! Read more>>

Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow | Artist & Educator

I am originally from Manchester, Jamaica. I often reflect on my childhood there. I grew up in the countryside where the natural landscape was abundant with greenery and the warmth of the diverse characters found in the Jamaican people. The landscape was where I most often found my playground. Growing up in Jamaica in the late 1970’s and early 80’s there was no Toys R’ Us or anything like that. Not even a toy store. Read more>>