When you grow up at the intersection of two vastly difference cultures, sometimes it can be easy to lose your sense of identity. But poet Xóchitl Morales wants to remind all Latino Americans why it’s important to never forget their heritage.
Morales breaks down her own life journey in a powerfully personal poem titled “Latino-Americanos: The Children Of An Oscuro Pasado,” in a video posted Tuesday on Pero Like’s Facebook page. Her verses detail everything from the loss of her Spanish language fluency as a young girl to the rejection of her Nahuatl name.
“My first language was Spanish, learned from sweet stories told by my papi at bedtime,” she says in the video. “My tongue a formation of the stardust of my heritage, and intertwined galaxy of rolled R's and the pledge of allegiance. It was something I would soon forget after I was told it was wrong and taught a new way to introduce myself. ‘Mi nombre es’ turned to ‘my name is’ after the girl in my class told me she couldn’t understand me.”
But her grandmother, with whom she could only nod or shake her head “because her native language sounds like a tongue twister I can’t seem to master," reminded her what it meant to carry the Latino identity in her veins.
“She reminds me, that the colors in my soul and the rhythm in my bones are blessings and that I come from the Incas, the Mayas, the Aztecs, los Mexicas who built an empire nunca imaginado (never imagined),” Morales says. “That we are a children of an oscuro pasado (dark past), a mixture of pain, sadness and oppression. But we have inherited the strength. We have inherited the passion. She reminds me that my name holds the power of the most legendary Aztec princesses.”
Morales, then, dedicates her poem to those who maintain their culture and keep their heritage close to their hearts and lives.
“We wear their legacies on our shoulders with pride, and we do not lose ourselves to broken perceptions but rise above with the help of our powerful stories, our melodies, our galaxies porque somos Latino Americanos and we will not be forgotten.”
Watch the full poem above.