Oppression? Opportunity?

There’s always been problems

That much is a fact.

From the moment the pilgrims stepped foot on this land.

They were refugees

Fleeing from religious oppression

That made themselves a home

In the land of opportunity.

The land of the free? The home of the brave?

Oppression:

“the state of being subject to unjust treatment or control.”

A word that has plagued this country from the start.

Native Americans, the people who were here

Long before the Europeans

Had to suffer through the slaughter and displacement of their people.

Today they are met, on their own sacred land

By rubber bullets, and tear gas on the command

Of someone who can never fully understand

The trauma of a people who were stripped of everything.

Everything.

But resilience lies in them

Like it lies in the African-Americans

Whose ancestors were picked off the shores of Africa

Like the cotton

They were then forced to pick by their oppressors.

We see it on the news everyday

How quickly a life can be taken away

A father, a son, a daughter, a wife

By someone who has no regard for life.

12 years old. 16 years old. 30 years old.

They should be alive,

They should be alive.

The home of the brave

Puts guns in the hands of people who are afraid

Of someone who is bigger, and darker than they are.

It shouldn’t be this way,

This isn’t the American dream.

But my dreams are stained

By the hellish nightmare that is reality.

A reality so ugly

Created by coming home

To the words “Go Away Terrorist”

Spray painted on the walls, at 9 years old.

A form of religious oppression.

The very thing people came here to escape.

But this is my home

Like it is the home of millions.

Hard working immigrants who left their lives behind

In search of something better.

The land of the free,

A place where the people have the power

To change the way we view ourselves

And each other.

There’s always been problems,

But problems can be fixed.

Change does not happen over night

We must make it happen

With resilience

With resistance

And a belief that we can be so much better than those who came before us.

The bright stars of our flag shine for everyone

Not just a select few.

We cannot give up, not now, not ever

We can make America great

But this will never happen

If all we do is spread hate.

Together we must stand, as one.

Unity.

For this is what is known

As the land of opportunity.

 

This poem is about: 
My family
My community
My country

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