Azusa has always been my home. The more I get involved in my community, the more I realize how caring and genuine my neighbors are. One of my favorite childhood memories in Azusa is my old neighbor inviting all of the kids on our block to her house to have “painting class”. She volunteered her time and provided all the supplies, so we had something safe and productive to do after school and during the summer. I cannot remember a time when this neighbor was not giving of herself to every family on our block. When she was not teaching us to paint, she was sitting on her lawn chair outside of her house watching over us kids while we played.
Having someone who was so invested in her neighbors was the best example of true community I have ever experienced. It is important to create safe, genuine spaces like this within our city for children so they learn how important they are to our community. The more familiar we are with those who live around us, the deeper our connection will be to one another. Neighbors like that exist all over our city, we just have to take the time to find them and begin developing these types of relationships.
This body, believe it or not, hasn't always had brown pride running through its veins.
And I’m not going to lie this body didn't always walk around thinking ¡Viva México!
This body has not always desired to walk the same streets as sus abuelos en Guadalajara
Because this body did not always know who or what it belonged to,
But it now knows that it belongs to la historia de su familia.
When I look in the mirror I see this body painted red.
Rojo como chiles, como menudo, como tomates.
I see green.
Verde como aguacates, como guacamole, como limon y cilantro.
I see white.
Blanco como arroz con leche, como avena.
When I look in the mirror I see that I am red, white, and green.
I am the colors of my flag.
Soy los colores de mi bandera.
This body understands that when other people look at it they only see the color brown.
Color cafe como frijoles como el mole de mi abuela.
This body, my body, wishes other bodies were color blind so my body could be color blind
And then maybe we could all put color to the side and finally leave it there.
This body is not always sure whether to use ser o estar.
Por or para.
This body has never known how to correctly speak in the past tense
Porque este cuerpo esta demasiado ocupado viviendo lo presente.
This body has found its voice.
Este cuerpo ha encontrado su voz.
With its voice this body practices its grito Mexicano.
This body comes alive to the sounds of mariachis and bidi bidi bom bom.
It answers to both its first language y su segunda.
This body may walk and talk the American way,
But it still daydreams of time spent across its neighbor’s borders.
Este cuerpo es fuerte y duro, hermoso y elegante, educado y humano.
Este cuerpo es igual.
Este cuerpo es tratando y aprendiendo y viviendo.
Este cuerpo es Mexicano.
This body is strong and tough,
Beautiful and elegant,
Educated and human.
This body is equal.
This body is trying and learning and living.
This body is Mexican.
This body consumes the American culture,
But it refuses to settle for the-store-bought-tv-taught-lazy-border-jumping-
job-stealing-tax-dodging-unwanted-alien version of its Hispanic culture.
When this body thinks of its culture it thinks trabajador
Como sus abuelos en los campos de Chula Vista, San Diego.
It thinks of all of the people who have crossed that border,
Who are crossing that border,
Who will cross that border.
It thinks of all of the people who never made it across.
It thinks of the people who can never go back.
When this body thinks of its culture it thinks of open doors,
It thinks mi casa es su casa,
It thinks un abrazo,
It thinks home.
When I think of my culture I think of my body.
Este cuerpo es mi cuerpo.
This body is my body.