I was at the 4th Annual New York State Youth Leadership Council’s Gala on Friday night to present some awards, share my poem with everyone and be there as all the undocumented youth received their award. After a long day at work and even though I felt exhausted and grumpy I made my way over to the NYSYLC office; I’m glad I did.
The whole time I was there I felt like crying. Each youth was presented with their award and their thank you speeches brought some happiness to me but sadness as well. I wish I could do so much more for each and everyone of you. If it were up to me I’d take all your pain away and even make it my own. It stresses me out to think of all the hardships they’ve faced and have yet to face. It pisses me off when I think about all the hate some have towards us without knowing what amazing individuals we are. And so I dedicated my poem to all of us.
UP TO ME
Hot iron “NO’s” are burned and imprinted into our skin every time we try to take a step forward dragging along our bags of dreams and hopes.
Dreams of becoming someone of doing something are folded up neatly like fresh laundry waiting to be unfolded and used.
Tired of the endless NO’s the endless pain that comes with being paperless, indocumentados, without status, sin papeles, undocumented, without papers.
Like if we were some kind of printers or fax machine that needed a refill.
Instead, every inch of our souls is filled with:
things we can’t do
people we can’t be
places we can’t reach.
NO’s that transform into chants of sweet smelling strength to the oppress and voice out our power running within us like liquid transforming into screams and raised fists.
If it were up to me I would rip each NO and ILLEGAL ALIEN from the mouths of every negative who time and time again wish for our defeat, our deportation our death.
I would break the long rusty chains of hate, segregation and depression that bind us weighing us down and keeping us from reaching our fullest potential.
I’d create a world with love colored skies covered with diamond clouds and air that fills our lungs with equality.
I’d blindfold the statue of liberty, America’s people and every politician in the hopes that no one will see race. That no one will discriminate when they see my Colombian skin and hair but hear of our accomplishments.
Separated by laws, broken systems and non-existent documents that limit us and label us but in the end we’re still the same.
I’d crush and destroy every wall, border, barbed wire and electric fence because we’re not some heard of sheep or pigs that need to be squared in;
every divider that has kept us from our families, from ourselves and our dreams.
I’d wrap us all in one huge soft silk ribbon that sparkles like the fourth of July fireworks, smells fresh like freedom and alive like the air around the Andes Mountains waiting for me back home; long like the voter lines and DMV lines we cannot stand on as proof that we are also important, valuable and continue to be created equal.
I’d grab every single individual and place them at the forefront of their aspirations on campuses, stable jobs and reunited with their family.
But in the mean time we’ll continue to:
Study and wait
Eat and wait
Laugh and wait
Work and wait
Cry and wait
But fight while waiting
Until we realize we were never really waiting at all we were making things happen on their own.
If you couldn’t make it to the Gala but would like to donate CLICK ME