Drawing on family photographs and documents, as well as archival research, the author reflects on her grandmother’s migration to New York City from Puerto Rico in the mid-1940s and examines her journey and new life in New York in relation to the broader sociopolitical context. The reflective essay considers how housing and homeownership were positioned as key to the promises of the American dream, while also revealing the limits of such ideals as tied to U.S. empire building on and off the island. The author analyzes her grandmother’s role as the president of her public housing tenant organization and her father’s experiences growing up in Harlem to better understand what it means to strategically navigate sites of inclusion and exclusion. This reflection is written in the spirit of testimonio in an effort to honor and extend Latina feminist epistemologies and contribute to scholarship that challenges traditional modes of knowledge production.

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