Lucrecia Dayci Chivukula was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1953. Her paternal great grandparents trace their roots to India, and she describes her mother’s side of the family as Afro-Cuban. In the interview, Chivukula recalls the impact of the Cuban Revolution on her family. It took her family twelve years to be able to emigrate, first to Madrid, Spain, where they lived for two years, and then to the United States.
Initially living in the South Bronx, she finished her high school equivalency, scored high on the test, and earned a full scholarship to City College of New York (CCNY), earning her degree in 1980. She met her future husband at CCNY and they got married, living first in Howell and then settling in Franklin. She pursued graduate studies at Rutgers in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, where she worked as an adjunct professor for over thirty years. She taught at Saint Peter's High School for fourteen years and then became a language teacher at Thomas Grover Middle School in West Windsor-Plainsboro for twenty years.
During her retirement, Dayci continues to dedicate time to serve her community. She has shared her experiences as an immigrant at programs at Middlesex County College and at Douglass College at Rutgers. She has been involved in a local diabetes prevention program geared toward South Asian and Hispanic communities. She also participates in Share Your Foodways, which provides food for individuals in need, while celebrating ancestral cooking and food traditions.
The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2021-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.