Dear Future Self,
Please enlighten me by saying that the world has changed and I have helped. Tell me about all the protests I have been a part of, about all the marches I have marched in. Did I finally do it?! Oh the joy it would bring me to hear you say that at the march for International Women’s Day, I got the opportunity to go up and inspire people with my words because that has always been what I’ve desired. Did I finally do it? I would be filled with a huge sense of pride if you let me know that I have stood up for people. Tell me about all the people I have stood up for when they were too afraid to do it themselves.
Let me know why. Was it because of having undocumented family members who always kept their mouths shut that I decided to finally erupt, like a volcano that hadn’t for too many years? Tell me, did my words captivate their ears? Please, Nancy! I’m dying to hear that when asking people about me, I am known for staying true to the things I believe in. That I still have kept my feminist beliefs and fight for that equality whenever I see the opportunity. That I have kept fighting against the patriarchy and sexism. That I have tried to stop “machismo” from going on in my community and am open to anyone who seeks the help do this in their own homes. I hope when you hear the words independent, inspirational, moving, revolutionary, activist, poet, feminist, and especially brave, you think of Nancy. Tell me about how I left for college and came back to my community. I can only hope that you will tell me that I have been a teacher to many students, specifically the weaker students. The ones who have lost all hope and confidence. Tell me that I have convinced them that that is nonsense. For all I have ever wanted to do is help people face their fears. And not only that, even if it may take years, help them conquer their fears and be able to move forward and not have to put on a fake smile because now it will truly come from within.
Nancy, you know as well as anyone else that I want this because that was once me. I want to be a leader in a stampede of lost hope. I want to take them all to a place where critical thinking is allowed. There, they will not be silenced for they will be able to speak their minds. Tell me, Nancy. What have I done to help guide them? Tell me about all the women I have helped to regain their power. Because as women we are born with it, but let society rip it and take it away from us.
I remember being a little girl, I danced and jumped around not having a care in the world, with the biggest smile on my face. However, as I reached my teenage years, it seemed to slowly erase. People said you would see a sudden ray of light that would burst as bright as the sun when you looked at me. I see it every time mom pulls out my old photo albums. What happened to it? I’ll tell you what happened: it got lost in all the hateful comments I have heard, and let them consume and take over me. I hope you can tell me that you became resilient enough to bounce back and fight and stand up so that other people won’t go through what I did. Not only will I feel accomplished but I will feel relief. This will help many people’s sisters, daughters, and many more generations of women to come. Please, please, tell me all of this. I need to hear it. My aspiration in life has always been to be happy. That level of happiness I want to reach will never become reality if this list of things I want you to tell me is not complete. I am on my way to greater things and when I am done, I will say, “I am an activist. I am the cause of change. I am a fighter. I am a feminist. I am a leader. This is my revolution.” Tell me about it soon.
The younger Nancy
In the Ethnic Studies course called Boyle Heights and Me created by three teachers working for equity and excellence in education, Roxana Dueñas, Jorge Lopez, and Eduardo Lopez, 9th graders at Roosevelt High School engaged in a year of conversation critiquing and challenging what is often accepted as the norm, or “just the way things are.”
This is My Revolution is a collection of honest and inspirational stories that depict the power of transformation and healing that comes from knowledge of self.
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