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Sunday, November 03, 2019


by Donna Katzin

We are the bright-faced dreamers,
pimples on our cheeks,                                            
victory in our voices.                                                  
We rally in the shadow of Lady Liberty                              
to walk her message, one step at a time,          
to the highest court in the nation.

Our siblings cheer us on.          
Juancito stretches hands above his head                          
to lift a banner that defies the wind.                                  
Kelli in cornrows sings from her father’s shoulders
as Korean dancers swirl to deep-throated drums
and brass tambourines.

We have come with parents
from Mexico, Nepal, Sierra Leone,
the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens
to keep our families together,
claim our right to live in the only land
we have ever known.

Other marchers’ chants take root
in our tongues, blossom on our lips:
I am somebody…
Keep the pressure on!
El pueblo unido -- jamás será vencido!
Sí se puede!                                    

We add our own:
Aquí estamos, y no nos vamos.
Y si nos hechan, nos regresamos!
New York One, Newsday, Radio Rebeldía
harvest footage, photos, sound-bites
and speeches for history.

We are not invisible.
We are not afraid.                                                        
We have no other country.
We are already home.

Author's Notes:  On Oct. 26, 2019, 150 marchers set out on an 18-day 230-mile march from NYC to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protection Status for immigrants seeking refuge from conditions that jeopardized their lives in their own countries. Both programs have been threatened by policies of the current administration—endangering more than 1,000,000 people in the US. The marchers headed for Washington, DC to bear witness at the November 12 Supreme Court hearings on the status of DACA.

Aquí  estamos               We are here
Y no nos vamos             And we are not leaving.
Y si nos hechan             And if you deport us
Nos regresamos            We will return.

I am somebody! A mantra led weekly by the Rev. Jesse Jackson at Operation PUSH meetings in Chicago, where more than 1,000 black youth gathered every week in the 1970s.
Keep the pressure on! A slogan from the anti-apartheid movement in the 1990’s after Mandela’s release from prison, but before the fall of apartheid.
El pueblo unido -- jamás será vencido! The people united—will never be defeated—a chant that rocked the streets of Salvador Allende’s Chile in the 1970s and after.
Sí se puede! Yes we can—a rallying cry of the United Farmworkers in the 1970s, picked up by many movements and leaders since, including Barack Obama.

Donna Katzin is the founding executive director of Shared Interest, a fund that mobilizes the human and financial resources of low-income communities of color in South and Southern Africa. A board member of Community Change in the U.S., and co-coordinator of Tipitapa Partners working in Nicaragua, she has written extensively about South Africa, community development and impact investing. Published in journals and sites including TheNewVerse.News and The Mom Egg, she is the author of With the Hands, a book of poems and photographs about post-apartheid South Africa’s process of giving birth to itself.