CHARLOTTE, N.C. — From food to the Spanish language, Lalia Victoria says culture is everything to her.

What You Need To Know

  • PEW research revealed the number of people identifying as "Afro-Latino" doubled since 2000

  • Lalia Victoria of Charlotte says before she knew the term, she felt stuck between worlds

  • Now, she's hoping to create a community to support other Afro-Latinos

Growing up, she was immersed in her Dominican culture and she embodied her heritage. 

“I would spend summers there with my grandparents. This gives you a glimpse of my life in DR,” Victoria said.  

But when she got to high school, she says people didn’t see her Dominican roots. They assumed she was African American. 

“They would be like 'bring your birth certificate' or they would ask that I speak Spanish for them. I almost always have to prove to people who I am and what I am,” she said.  

Victoria says that left her between two worlds and confused about her identity. 

“I just don't belong anywhere. Latinos, I don't look the part. African Americans, I look the part but culturally I don’t fit the part,” Victoria said. 

In college, she took an elective and learned the term “Afro-Latina.” defines “Afro-Latinx” as people from Latin American countries with African ancestry. 

“That’s when I was like, 'oh that's who I am.' I found who I am and who my identity is,” she said. 

Victoria says as she continues to learn more about herself and her full identity, she’s happy to see more representation in the Afro-Latinx community. 

“It’s as if the light switch was turned on, and instead of existing in a dark room, the light was turned on,” she said.