I recognize that I am a citizen of one of the most “free” nations on earth.
I recognize my home is built atop the land of the Tongva, Tataviam and Chumash peoples, who had lived here for 8,000 years.
I recognize that 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World between 1525 and 1866, of which 10 million survived the Middle Passage. I recognize the descendants of these slaves are my friends, community leaders, teachers, and unfortunately, the victims of a system that immobilizes them, imprisons them, and robs them of due process.
I recognize that California once rightfully belonged to Mexico, and that the culture of Southern California is inextricably tied to Hispanic culture. I recognize this is just as “American”, if not even a truer version of what it means to be “American”.
I recognize that my parents fled their homes and found a better life here. I recognize that, had my family stayed in Afghanistan, I would live a completely different life.
I also recognize that had the West not interfered with the affairs of my mother country, I may have had a chance to live a free life there.
I recognize my tax dollars contribute to the murder of innocent mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, and entire families in my country of origin.
I recognize this nation continues to deny the Armenian genocide, and the current genocide taking place in Palestine.
I recognize this country sells and markets itself on loaded terms and concepts based on freedom and peace and equality, but actually aligns itself with nations who impose the complete opposite, not only on their own citizens, but of those that they occupy.
I recognize my privileges as an American citizen do not come democratically, or with liberty, or with justice for all.
But rather, they come with manipulation, with coercion, with war, with bloodshed, with torture, with racism, with a sham story built on the false illusion of patriotism.
& I wish I could buy the story that our Forefathers wrote, I wish I could pledge with great honor and love. And I hope from the bottom of my heart, that one day, I will find peace with the ailments of our American history and government.
I declare that my Independence did not come to me earned. And I lament the losses of those who broke their backs to build this country.
Only to have their churches burned, and their histories white-washed.