To mi gente,
Never did I ever believe we’d be in this situation again. But bigotry has made a stronger comeback than before, rising up and reclaiming all the progress we’ve made. It tries to put us “back into our place.”
I remember waking up on November 9, 2016. My eyes were puffy from the night before. I had cried myself to sleep. I was tired and frustrated and scared. I remember hoping to wake up to miracle; I believed everyone would come to their senses.
But I was wrong.
I woke up to only find that hate is greater than common sense. It’s greater than change and it’s greater than love. My heart had fallen to my stomach and my entire body felt heavy. I couldn’t think and trying to think made everything worse. My whole spirit was broken and I felt destroyed. I couldn’t breathe. I was too choked up with tears that breathing didn’t seem as important as crying.
At school, no one stood or said the pledge of allegiance that day or days after. We all had the same question, should we pledge our allegiance to a flag or to a country that couldn’t even do the same for us? A country that broke treaties time and time again and continues to enforce years of colonization, ignorance, hatred, and fear in almost everything we do, could we pledge allegiance to that? Without any hesitation, our immediate answer was, “No.” This country can’t give us the loyalty it so rudely asks for so we don’t owe it any.
We were all shocked, some of us completely broken. I had countless friends come up to me in tears, in fear for themselves and their parents because of their documentation status. Teachers were quiet. Students were silent. We didn’t do much that day; everything was heavy.
It’s been almost two months since that awful day. And now tomorrow, hate and fear will take on the role of president. The sad part is that hate and fear aren’t new parts of our country; this country was built on hate and fear. But I think this time is different. I think this is an attack on change. It’s an attack on a black president. It’s an attack on the change any minority has ever made and that is why I am in pain.
See, I knew my country hated me, but this much?
But despite all the pain I’ve felt for the past months, and even now, the fight for our liberation will go on.
¡Mi gente, somos fuerte!
We are valid and strong. We are the roses that grew from concrete.
Fight. Heal. Revolt. Survive. Decolonize.
Mi gente, how I care and love you. We have passion in our soul, from the food we eat, to the way we walk with music in our feet. We are the seeds of resistance and we will plant them for the rest of our lives. We create movements with just one flick of our fingers.
We will thrive like our ancestors intended us to.
Our existence is resistance.
We are valid. Our feelings are valid.
We exist. We are powerful.
We are here to stay.
*Because the author is underage, Coachella Unincorporated asked that a pseudonym be used.