“Where I Come From” By Brenda Dao
I come from cultural wealth that embraces bodies of oceans and rice fields
Providing endless fruit while hiding behind that sweet shield
Not yet long before war erupted and Agent Orange was released
Nothing left but to flee and survive
But those that stayed behind still had hope in their eyes
I come from acculturation with a taste of westernization
Overpowered by people with the idea of colonization
No longer a mixture of cultural wealth
Assimilation was the only way to not get mixed in the between
A new culture is born
I come from beauty standards that fit the dominant eyes
Where my yellow skin must blend into this white disguise
They say the whiter you are… the richer you are
I guess white skin treats you to endless caviar
I come from this notion that I will always be
a stranger from another shore
“Where are you really from?”
as if I hadn’t heard that a hundred times before
I walk the hallways with second guesses from others
“She probably stutters while she speaks English while she stutters”
I come from the fruit of my parent’s labor
Their hard work sets the bar for my achievements
Little did I know
It was just another form of oppressive treatments
Pitting racial groups against one another
But alas, the Model Minority was discovered
What a myth that was
as self doubt and expectations were among us
The struggle that I fear becomes real
Living in a world that makes me numb to the feel
Battling days where I am picking sides
Is today going to be white as I am throwing away my pride?
But I come from so much wealth
Wasn’t my culture just plain enough?
“Yo soy.” By Ciria Alvarez Valle
Yo soy inmigrante, yo soy Mexicana, yo soy indocumentada.
I am the ”X” in “xicanita”reclaiming a name and history,
that wasn’t always told to me.
The X that doesn’t listen to what the dominant narrative—
what the text books have to say.
I am the “I” in “illegal” as in I am somebody and I deserve full equality.
I am the cries during protests and rallies screaming,
”Undocumented! Unafraid! Undocumented and here to stay!”
I am the humanity when you build a wall—
despite the hatred I choose to stand up tall.
Choosing to stand against hate that tries to penetrate my community
but, I am the farmworkers clap in the morning to bring unity.
I am the passion, worth ethic, and pride that runs deep
because let’s face it, they call me a DREAMer but I am the one who never sleeps.
Child of the Sun by Juan Rodriguez
There was a time
when I was scared,
and would stare
at the mirror
of the color.
I would measure
the elongated nose
that was sculpted with
the gnarled hands of
and chisel sharp lines
out of it, the blood
of the conquered
would gush and stain
clothing, as the rage
in my veins would
force my thick lips into
out of the polluted air.
Maybe it was the arsenic
in the lawn’s soil,
or the lead in the white
walls that would disfigure
my internal earths,
but that very same toxic
would make me ponder,
and ponder, and ponder
until one day the reflection
in the glass distorted itself into
images of forgotten people
with forgotten names,
and brown eyes containing
galaxies of light
that I am a child of the sun.