By Mac  |   From : Los Angeles  |   School : Social Justice Humanitas Academy

I am fourteen years old, I have lived in the San Fernando Valley as long as I can remember. I was born to parents that work really hard to accomplish what they have today. I am very honored to be apart such strong and resilient immigrants that risk everything at the change of a better life. My family that I love with all my heart, I cherish them because they mean everything to me. I should be proud, to embrace my native roots, unfortunately I have allowed society to mess with me. I have never gave importance to what people thought about me, I thought that I was beautiful, amazing, and able to do anything. At least that is what I thought, I had the taste of the reality that people like me face, being a person of color. This realization change my life forever, as my mentality towards myself and how much I craved validation from people around me. I am brown, writing this right now is really difficult because it is an aspect of my identity that I am scared that I obtain.  I work hard in school, and respect everyone because I would be terrified that people would try to hurt me because of my skin color. To make the matter worse, I always faced problems relating to my physical appearance. A moment that I can remember most vividly, was when we were visiting my sister. She was staying at California Lutheran University completing a ecology class, which we notice that the area was a predominantly white because decided to enter a store to buy flowers and some chocolate to for her. The people there had the guts to stared at me and my family with a genuine disgust, they were surprised to see a family of color, who was also talking in their native language. They were looking at us if were committing a crime, speaking a language that was not English and having a skin color other than white. I was the only one besides my little brother who could understand and speak English which it made me feel like I was responsible to defend and protect them. At the moment I was scared, I was trying to come up with a plan just in case something would occur. I was anxious and pressuring my parents to hurry up, I could still feel how badly I wanted to get there and go back home.  I truly believe that I felt this way because I thought my family was in danger, in reality, it was me who was embarrassed, it was me that couldn’t handle this because my parents also notice their behavior but it didn’t stop them or made them feel less. I was in shock that I felt so much pain that I cried when we went back home. I was really happy that I would never go back there, I wouldn’t have expose my heart to that ever again, little did I know during our second visit my mother wanted to go back to the store to buy their bread because she notice that it was freshly baked and not like the quality provided in our neighborhood. This was the moment that I confess to my mother how I felt, I knew I wouldn’t be fine with going inside this place one more time. I am wholeheartedly grateful that I confided in my mother because she understood how I felt and didn’t made my father drive to the stores. To be honest, I am really happy that I share my emotions which took weight off my shoulders. It was like expressing and letting out everything made you feel refreshed and calm again. I still have to face a lot demons relating to my race but I know that I can always count on my family to help me cope and not let that stop me. I have this intense fear of going to places located in rich or Caucasian communities because of possibility of being dehumanized. I don’t want them to feel that they are better than people of color by using me as an example. After that moment, the comments that my peers said like a stab to my heart, because I know that behind those “jokes” there was a greater force meant to hurt me. I never thought that in high school, I would learn the different forms of oppression that minority groups have to face, or that communities of color have developed, over the years assets that have help them overcome it. I gained all knowledge that I can possibly as a current 9th grader, it has help me feel empowered because I now know how society perceives me and what I can do to prove them wrong. 

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