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Abstract

This composition traces the history of Cuban-American cultural identity formation through the lens of music and dance. As the author explains, Cuban immigrants cultivated a rich music and dance culture in New York City by creating a series of Latin and Afro-Cuban music genres and dances that brought diverse groups of people together. As a Vietnamese-American woman, Tran sees several connections between her family’s Vietnamese heritage and the cultural histories of Cubans who came to the United States as refugees seeking asylum from political oppression. As a first-generation college student, Tran believes it is important to share this composition as an example of how educational access can lead to empowerment, enabling students to learn new languages and engage with inter-ethnic aspects of American culture and history.