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This article seeks to amplify our scholarly view of immigrant identity by centering the first-person narratives of immigrant-origin children and youth. Our theoretical and methodological framework centers on testimonio—a narrative practice popularized in Latin American social movements in which an individual recounts a lived experience that is intended to be representative of a collective struggle. Our goal is to foreground first-person narratives of childhood as told by immigrant-origin children and youth in order to gain insight into what they believe we should know about them. We argue for the power of testimonio to communicate both extraordinary hardship and everyday experiences and that—through this storytelling—immigrant-origin children and youth also express imagined futures for themselves and their loved ones. Through our analysis of ethnographic recordings of testimonio shared by Latin American immigrant children and multimedia testimonios created by immigrant-origin adolescents with roots in the Caribbean and West Africa, we gain a fuller understanding of immigrant subjectivities and push the boundaries of “the immigrant experience” still prevalent in mainstream discussions today.


This article was originally published in available at Societies, available at

This work is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


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