my immigrant identity: a reflection after 3 decades

Why did you come to America?

Parents returned for job opportunity when it proved tough in home country. they brought my baby sister and me along (i come due to Caste privilege: both my parents have higher college education)

What challenges do you face living in a new homeland?

Growing up in the heartbread: zero tolerance for anything not white bread. Assimilatory forces incredibly forceful.

Now: same. white supremacy.

What does being “American” mean to you?

I am “American” only by papers. being in this place is still sacred as it is stolen land and so I try to live so this land can be returned to the care of the peoples who are its original stewards. i am here so whether i am welcomed or not, i belong. i now live with permission from the Massachuset Indian Nation whose lands I have been on for more 20 years.

What do i love about this place?

its natural beauty can be astonishing and i have been fortunate to see it with my family and others who walk with me and show me. I have been fortunate to have been befriended by friends in need. life saving people. i love that this place is constantly telling its truth despite powerful structures ruling with violence and erasure- a seat of tremendous resistance by many peoples who built it and were and continue to be denied rights. though i may be wrong, i still sense that the rights i have here allow me more freedom and therefore allow me to live closer to my dreaming self – despite the struggles –  than had i remained in my home country. that’s why i fight to remember this place’s labor and civil rights history even though i know they come at great domestic and international cost.

What do you miss about your home country?

The what might have been? though every day memories of the feel and smell of the air through seasons, the sounds of mother tongue spoken freely in community gets more faded Being of a people. Not questioning belonging. my grandmother. so much.