Who am I?
Society today, worldwide, points to many definitions of who we are: migrants 1st generation, 2nd generation, people with a migrant background, refugees, foreigners, expats- we are all reduced to definitions, demographics and statistics.
I am often asked the question by journalists “When do you feel like a migrant?” and the answer is always the same: “when I open the newspaper or watch the news.“
The public discourse and the “media” language, whether being politically correct or not, always seem to point to us as “the others”. But who are these “others”?.
Asking myself “Who am I” I can give 2 answers. On the one hand, I am a migrant from Romania, I am who I am identified as by the public discourse. By such, I am perceived as negative. Not only the word “migrant” labels me as such, but also the nationality “Romanian”. Tabloids attach many labels to us migrants, being always portrayed as criminals, always doing bad.
On the other hand, I am an entrepreneur, a valuable citizen to society and the economy. I am a person. I am me. Just like you. Why don’t we just leave it at that?
Having lived in Vienna for the past 12 years almost, my identity, my culture, my belonging has blurred out. I do not think locally. I see myself rather as a citizen of this world. Borders are not what defines me. To Austria, I am a migrant. To me, I am a citizen like everyone else. But until I can be perceived as a citizen of this world, I want to talk about migrants, about these “others”.
At Younited Cultures, I fight to rebrand the word, “migrant”. Some ask me, why I use this word, since it’s so negatively perceived. I use it because this word is the most commonly used word to describe us. If the whole public discourse was to polarize the word ”migrant” as meaning diversity, creativity, innovation, then people would perceive us as a positive influence.
So that’s what I do as a social entrepreneur. I want to rebrand the word with positive examples, migrant role models of society. The word “migrant” has simply been misused long enough. We need to bring more positive awareness towards that. We need to make ourselves visible and show who we really are. That is why we transform the migrant success stories into beautiful scarves that you can wear into society. They become wearable stories. A creative and beautiful way to show who we are. I invite you to wear one too. I invite you to join our movement to celebrate migration and show its true value.
I am Andra. I am Romanian. I am a migrant. And most importantly, proud to be one.