My patriotism is the kind where I’m grateful my parents were able to emigrate here from the Philippines, raise their kids (my sibs and me) in kickass LA, and start a new family history in a country filled with all types of people from all over the world.
I’m grateful for the opportunities available to me here. But I acknowledge the truth: It is 100% true that this country would not exist without a long history of oppression and exclusion, particularly of black and brown people, that still continues to this day. This country wouldn’t exist with slavery. Without genocide. Without the attempts at erasure of rich and powerful cultures. Without the brazen and violent taking of land. Just because me and my family are doing ok in the grand scheme of things – we are alive, we are thriving – doesn’t mean that I can turn away from the injustice. Black people are being killed almost daily in this country. Hate crimes against every race, creed, and color that isn’t white and/or Christian. This is not America the beautiful. It is not home of the free and land of the brave. Not for everyone. And until it’s for everyone, we are not truly free. My patriotism is one that strives for something better.
Today, I’m celebrating all the people and their fams who’s had to endure the racism, messed up policies, and mental/emotional hardship that comes with not being white or passing as white in this country. This country wouldn’t be great without us. I’m grateful for the white people in my life who acknowledge this. I’m celebrating all the people who are pushing for a better existence in the United States, who are trying to make this truly a place of liberty and justice for all.