An Immigrant Story To The U.S

Image: Equal Humanity

Image: Equal Humanity

In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.
— Maya Angelou

When we are placed under the colors of our culture, we are exposed to our differences since the beginning of our chapters. Whether it be you were baptized, went to church, or practice any religion, you are placed in a group separated by the rest; religion. We can celebrate our disconnection but we can’t ignore the stereotypical harm. Our experiences with ourselves are carried  into the present. Behind social construction, our skin and physical features are associated with the overlap of our identities. But we have the ability to look into each other's eyes and share our most beautiful and darkest secrets because we’re humans and that’s what we have in common. We can hold our hands to slowly wove our splendor ,and in union there is power to make a change.

More than half of the Miami Dade county are people born outside the U.S. I remember that I was once asked: what do immigrants contribute to the U.S.? At the time, I couldn't respond; I was “another someone who wanted something from America.”  During the 2016 election, I feared the answer to this question. One day, as I was on the pavement in a city I wasn’t sure if I could call home, I heard a voice that yelled, “Go back to your country.” But what if this was the only country my memories belonged? And through the painted walls of Miami in the delicate splashes of acrylic and spray paint, I found my answer walking through the streets of Wynwood Walls. We took our creativity and culture with us, we learned how to create family because we left ours in the war of the rejection of liberal freedom and we were ready to appreciate the rights our mother country couldn’t provide.

I came with a family of two and I learned to spend Christmas with two people and  to build my own family when I only had my mother and father to rely on.

 Searching in my memories I open my eyes to the fact which home wasn’t a location. If I pronounce “home” was the U.S it would have felt as if I was rejecting where I came from or denying what makes me.But, how could I call Colombia “home” when the only national anthem I know was from the U.S. Truth be told, every time I visit Colombia I feel as a lost traveller to its land because I don’t understand common sayings, I’m not familiar with some traditions and most of time I’m left out just like I was when I first came here. I have lived here for more than half of my life.

Letting go of a chest gasping for blood to hold in captive a chunky yellow heart covered by fat. Green veins splatters I crave to fit in eyes that wash me clean. I fear my blood because this labels me, how could I ignore it when 12.7 million wear my skin, my eyes, my lips, my hands, my heart, my liver and when we share sentences of a story. My sweet night eyes still drow.

But I  learned to make peace with the fact that I don’t have a huge typical family or that home isn’t a location.  Home lives in me, home is my passion.

I’m unique and distinctive because my life story has impacted me as a human. Being an immigrant has offered me to go far beyond my thoughts and I have an urge to report the truth about social injustice and immigration.

Experiences change us on all aspects of how we express feelings and how we solve problems because if it weren't for the difficulties of life we wouldn’t have stumbled with our own unique strength. We are all immigrants of earth and  after all, “ Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man’s greed” .  And in this diverse place of Miami I continue to find answers, learn from our differences and experience the sentences written along the pages I come across.

Maria ArangoComment