For every Chicano, Pachuco, Norteño, Sureño, Crip, and Blood, Greaser, and Cholo

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"When Mexico sends its people... They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime... They're rapists"

This quote is just one of many that, republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump has used to insult and degrade Latinos and Chicanos. It is also just a small part of his entire problematic, sexist, racist, and outrageous campaign. In fact, his words and actions have become so routine and seemingly hailed by the media that recently, I've had a hard time even following the news. I am afraid of reading of another Black protester being punched in the face, or a Muslim woman being ejected from the crowd, or a Univision anchor and journalist being removed - all instances that happened at Trump's campaign events. His craziness has become so commonplace that I think some start forgetting how it relates to very serious histories of oppression, violence, and struggle for communities of color who have endured multiple terrors. We, people of color, know all too well that such instances cannot be ignored because they can quickly escalate to the regression in battles we have fought for centuries and are continuing to face today.

It was with all these thoughts on my mind that I recently found some solace and faith when I decided to join my boyfriend for Stockton's All-City Poetry Slam. An event where the youth of Stockton, a city that has had its fair share of struggles and battles against violence and oppression, share their pieces and compete for spots on Stockton's national and state teams. The event is put on by With Our Words (WOW), which is led by Tama and Aaron Brisbane. While taking a small break to scroll through my phone, the powerful words of a young man by the name of Anthony Orosco Jr forced me to look up. In front of me I saw a skinny 18-year-old kid, with long, black, curly hair speaking his truth with such vigor through a poem about the little known history of chicano lynchings in the U.S.

In his piece he spoke about his immense pride of his heritage, the importance of knowing its history in this now called United States of America, the torture his people had endured, and the hypocrisy of white supremacy's need to constantly disparage a community that they could not even exist without. I was also drawn to his metaphors of relating Chicano history to the struggles of the Black community as he compared their intertwining to the rope that had been used to tie up both Black and Chicano bodies by the neck. What was most powerful was his challenging of the seeming control of white supremacists as he forcefully pushed back against them with words like:

My Lord please - forgive these white devils for they know not what they are doing.
I know you will not allow my people, your children to suffer anymore
No longer will we need to leave our lands, just for them to be stolen
No longer will we be killed in the name of White entertainment
For simply speaking our native tongue
My Lord, let La Raza be burned into the White pages of American history books

His words were some of the most powerful I'd ever heard and they came to me during a time when I needed them most, during a time when I think many of us could use the passion Anthony displayed in his work. I know I'm not the only who is afraid of our current political landscape, nor am I the only one who deals with the exhaustion of constantly pushing back against microaggressions and explicit discrimination. Therefore, I know I'm not the only person who will appreciate hearing and reading the words of a young slam poet who is bold, passionate, proud and who will also renew these things in you.

(The full transcript of the poem is below. You can also find an audio recording of Anthony's performance here.)

Chicano Lynchings by Anthony Orosco Jr.

Long before the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was drafted and signed
Before my birthplace was even known to be American soil
California was the richest part of Mexico's bright and vibrant culture
A place of farmlands and missionaries
Pueblos formed by Spanish soldiers and indigenous natives
My ancestors were never foreigners to these lands
Our angel warriors resting amongst the holiest of heros
Who once proved their worth roaming through the planet's most treacherous lands

And these Anglos
Threatened simply by our appearance
Dare treat their children like a sick virus easily controlled by involuntary vaccination
of segregation, my people
Were beaten, raped, robbed of our glorious culture
Hung by our necks, brown body
Shot, stabbed, and hacked as they sway forth in the breeze like mutilated pinatas
Dangling alongside strange fruit, but not many knowing
We often swung from the same branch
For the grim fate of Blacks and Mexicans in the US are intertwined like the ropes the used to tie every noose
To see the history linking together
Mutated metal loops, cops casting the intent of restraining us from doing things law enforcement has done to us for centuries

Now I'm only going to say this once
Don't ever refer to me as being a fucking spic
Don't ever look down on us for holding true to our roots
Don't forget we grow your food, mow your lawns, build your houses
And think
This country could never function without us
You heathens
Intend to cleanse mi barrio in the name of God
Hanging His children in the same fashion you put up your flag
My people were brutalized by the hands of red necks in white hoods for not having blue eyes
My brown skin makes me target for swinging from trees like an ethnic ornament
My Lord please - forgive these white devils for they know not what they are doing.

I know you will not allow my people, your children to suffer anymore
No longer will we need to leave our lands, just for them to be stolen
No longer will we be killed in the name of White entertainment
For simply speaking our native tongue
My Lord, let La Raza be burned into the White pages of American history books
Across this blinded nation, make it flow through the souls of every Chicano in existence
This is for those who routinely roam the streets
On lockdown behind bars

For every Chicano, Pachuco, Norteño, Sureño, Crip, and Blood, Greaser, and Cholo
For those of Spanish descent and Latin origin
I spit this in the name of change
To honor the history of my people
I spit this
So we are no longer forced to relive our past

Every time we're stopped by cops
Watching branches sway in the wind