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Art by a teen girl from our program

I stand here with an audible voice

I stand here with a visible face

I represent my people's pain

I am Latina

Those words I used to find shame in

And every time I was told to mark a check next to my ethnicity and race

I wanted to mark the box next to the same race that oppresses

Me and my people

My identity

 

My mother used to tell me to dream,

To dream big, to not be afraid of my wings

The wings nurtured by

My mother’s love, My family, Mi Cultura (My culture)

 

Antes no me gustaba hablar el español

(Before I didn't like speaking Spanish)

I spoke it with a sense of shame and a little bit of self-hate

My mom confused my silence with shyness

She couldn’t understand

How could I explain

That society had told me that my dreams did not match the color of my skin

My mother told me to dream

Told me education could help me win

 

Until the day she told me

Mija, tal vez no sueñes tanto

(Sweetie, maybe don’t dream too much)

Look at reality for a second

No tienes papeles y no tenemos dinero

( You're undocumented, and we don’t have money)

Solo iras al colegio si cai todo del cielo

( You're only going to college if everything falls from the sky)

She shattered my life in a matter of seconds

Without realizing the damage she had done

 

Entonces la sangre se me subió y solo le pude gritar

( Then all my blood raised to my head, and I could only scream)

WHY DIDN’T WE STAY IN MEXICO!

That's the land of the free

Then I would have all my rights given to me

Why did you bring me to the land of LOS RACISTS (THE RACIST)

 

This country whose history is based off hatred and abuse

Of all other races,Que no son blancos. (That are not white)

Que no entiendes, nonos quieren aquí

Lo miro en la forma que me miran

Como si fuera menos que humana

 

(Do you not understand, they don’t want us here)

(I see it in the way they look at me)

( As if I were less than human)

 

But still, I spread my wings

And dreamed my dreams

And now I'm here

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