Is there a universal story—or truth—that African immigrants share? How do we maneuver and reconcile our multiple existences—our distinct African cultures, and languages; being black; and being immigrant? These are some of our stories—the ones that bind us together and those unique, individual narratives—of our struggles and triumphs. Africans in New York is a blog about underreported stories—writings, video, audio and photo essays—about our diverse African communities. No one can tell our stories better than us.

—Arao Ameny, Ugandan-born, New York-based journalist and writer

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As told from the ones who came before me…

In my native language Lango (Luo), Arao means “to collect or to gather” and Ameny  means “to bring light or illuminate.”

Before birth, my ancestors knew I would collect and gather the overlooked stories.

They knew I would repeat the untold ones…

The stories where we are heroes…
The stories we are the point of reference not the periphery…
The stories where we are the normative and not the other…
The stories where we define ourselves.

The stories where our laughter, our screams and our joy are familiar because they are in our voices.

The stories —that reflect our flaws, our vulnerabilities or simply show how damn beautiful  we are—when the depth of our being is scratched, lifted, broken and exposed to the day of light—and seen.

My name is story. A story that came before me.

My name transcends me. My name uplifts me.

Those who came before me already knew what I was supposed to do in this world.

I am a journalist, a writer, a storyteller…

I collect stories—African stories. Our stories.

My name is Arao, “to collect, to gather,” and Ameny “to bring light, to illuminate.”

This is my purpose. This is my purpose.