image of hand holding up a mask and a shadow of hand holding mask and line-up wall behind it

Illustration by: Alvaro Hernandez

Illustration by: Alvaro Hernandez

Written by: Kevin Bernal-Rivera

I am not

A United States citizen. 

I wasn’t fortunate enough to have been birthed on US soil.

Am I worthy?

My mother and father’s homeland continues to be in turmoil.

Should I worry?

I am not


My ancestral fathers fought valiantly against their colonizer.

Was my arrival in the land of opportunity the equalizer?

My ancestral mothers endured abuse.

Now, this violent past is mine to defuse?

I am not

A rapist, criminal, or gang member.

Yes, my parents’ homeland is the bloodiest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

How do you feel when I tell you about my familial background? Is it fear?

My academic journey is the attempt of escaping these misconceptions.

Will I succeed? Can I alone help my people achieve redemption?