How beautiful is it to know that in me are a thousand who persisted
I come from Quechua
I can hear my ancestors sing to Inti Raymi
The creases on my hand tell stories of Incan warriors resisting the white mans oppresion
I am more than the product of colonization
I am their revenge infused with their blessings and encompassed with education
-children of the sun
I am your daughter
growing wild, and high.
I am your legacy, the wounds of our ancestors, your struggle in my bones.
The tears you cried, the nights you worked, the racism that hurt you, the language you struggle to speak, the dreams you gave to me.
I am your daughter
growing so high, it was you that taught me how to rise.
Your legacy–“vale la pena.”
-words to my father
My father calls and doesn’t know what to say. I wish I could express to him everything in my mind but I only know how to say it one way. The way that he knows very little of, the language of his bosses, of a country that doesn’t want him, of a language that is seen as superior to his. When I speak he listens; in his mind imagining what crazy idea I have contrived. Had I grown up in the land we call home, my father and I would bond over the words that sway off our tongues to a song we both know. My father calls and I speak what we both know. We no longer feel far away and he doesn’t have to feel embarssed over what he cannot say.
My name is Gianella Ghiglino.
I was born in Lima,Peru.
I am blend of the Indigenous people of Peru, the Spaniards that colonized them and the Italian Man whose name I carry on.However, this isn’t just about me this is about all the immigrants that share my story. In Peru, foreigners especially white foreigners are put on a pedestal to be worshipped for their white skin and light colored eyes. The “gringos” come to our country to take pictures in Macchu Picchu and take selfies with llamas.When we go to their land it is a very different reality. Its harsh indeed, we tend to live in lower socioeconomic areas with people that look like us. Living in Los Angeles, I was around very few Peruvians but a lot of Mexicans who were also immigrants and no they weren’t all “wetbacks.” We share our language and my parents only went to Vallarta to buy groceries because thats where the paisanos were. We didn’t have a lot of money we were pretty poor. I used to look for toys in the dumpster but I was never ashamed, I actually had no idea I was poor until I got older.
I didn’t know what discrimination was entirely but I just knew that white people were “better” and thats just how things were. I was a smart kid though, I questioned things a lot. Why were we viewed as less? I didn’t understand how my family and my people were what went wrong to this country. My economic situation gradually got better. I am today, very fortunate for all that I have but not everyone is as lucky as I am. There are a lot of immigrants who are undocumented and they virtually have no rights. They fear being separated from their loved ones at any moment. We have to have thick skin to overcome everything that comes with being brown.
By being brown your legal status is automatically questioned. By being brown you have only negative sterotypes to accompany you. By being brown people think you do not speak english. By being brown you can be confused as a gang member. By being brown you are hated by Donald Trump. By being brown you have less opportunities to get hired. By being brown you are told to get out of this country despite being born here. By being brown you carry an oppressive violent history.By being brown everything you do represents us all. By being brown we are taught to love our culture. By being brown we have a strong bond with our familia. By being brown we are taught to work a 100 hours a week and not complain. By being brown I was taught to always salir adelante (move forward).
We didn’t come here to steal jobs but if I do just know i did it without privilege.