Courtesy of Kassie Navarrete
This piece was published as part of the News’ 2022 Lifting Up Latinx Identity special issue, celebrating Latinx Heritage Month from Sep. 15 to Oct. 15.
My parents son de un rancho en mi lindo Michoacán.
Mi piel el color De La Rosa Mazapán con un poquito de miel caliente;
¡I survived the Spanish colonization of the Aztecs y que chido se siente!
My ancestors cruzaron deserts y la frontera para una vida mejor: Mexican snakes buscando un lugar de opportunity only to be eaten by a batch of big bald eagles who we like to call reality, struggle, and Border Patrol.
Soy una Chicana who grew up on 1227 Hampshire St. in the Mission District donde mi corazón admired the murals that cover las paredes like chile picoso covers watermelon candy.
I am the black and white posters used in the East L.A. Walkouts, every letter yelling, “¡Viva La Raza!,” with pride as I become first-generation college-bound. Mi abuela says, “¡¿Échale ganas okay mi amor?! Pero primeramente Dios.”
My lineage went from, “Fíjate que no tengo dinero ahorita carnala,” to, “That will be $403.56 ma’am. Thank you for shopping at Nordstrom Rack.”
From the United Farmworkers who refused to become slaves, majestic butterflies emerging from their restraining shells,
To watching countless episodes of Spanish novelas in a newly renovated San Francisco apartment.
Cocinando tamales con masa de La Casa Lucas y hojas de La Palma while listening to “Fiesta” is a must; mis caderas gruesas moviéndose de lado a lado.
I am Mexican-American history, pain and suffering, achievement, perseverance.
I have one body, one mind, and one soul, yet I don’t know which version of me writes this poem.
This spoken poem was first performed live at La Casa Cultural’s LatinXcellence showcase. Kassie Navarrete is a sophomore in Pierson College from San Francisco, California. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .