Camille Jacome: “Liberation”

(“Tomorrow’s Voices Today“ is a new series curated by poet and educator Mike Sonksen.)

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“One Chicano, two Chicano, three Chicano, four.
All these Mexicans and the liberals
still protest for more.”
But I’m not Mexic-
They silence me
No jumpsuit, just brown skin
No felonies, just a foreign tongue
Not a rapist, but they raped my ancestors
Not a dealer, but they’ve been
dealt the upper hand all this time
His time
Not ours
Never ours
Understand, I’ve never seen
the inside of the Pen
But I am a prisoner
I am imprisoned to the stereotype

I had a dream…
And there he was
He made it home that night
Already digested his skittles and tea
He was asleep in his room
She checked in on him
She clutched her breast with her hand
Where her heart beats
She remembers the first time she heard his
She thanks God for another day
He is safe, he is home, he is here
He is safe, he is home, he is here
He is safe
He is home
He is…
She wakes up
She clutches her breast
with her hand where her heart beats
She remembers the first time
she heard his
She did not however believe
she’d no longer hear his
Not so soon
Too soon
Why so soon
17, 17
He was my age
So what was triggered faster
The white hispanic seeing
the black boy in a hoodie
or the second it took
for the bullet to pierce
his skin clad jumpsuit
No jumpsuit, just black skin
He was a prisoner
Imprisoned to the stereotype

Freedom, freedom where are you?
¿Donde andas?
I’ve never seen the Pen, but I am a prisoner
He was a prisoner
Maybe you are a prisoner
Nuestro padre, our father

Let us pray…
I just want to be liberated
Bound by the biased, the prejudice, the stereotype no longer
Evoked to tears when they finally
see our brown and black skin
as just a coat, and not all that we are
Remember the martyrs, fighters, preachers, teachers that came before us, who paved the way, the vision bigger than the tunnel
Through our skin, we tell stories,
we honor our ancestors,
skin tightened by time
I just want to be liberated
On this day, hermanos y hermanas,
brothers and sisters, we pray
Never should our children, our blood and roots, our stepping stones to the next generation endure the oppression, the pain when your skin is brown or black because
it is all the same underneath
We are beautiful.
We are authentic.
We are divine.
And we are unbreakable.
Somos juntos.
In your name, one name,
we pray for liberation.


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