"America, America" by Kailee Haong, poet and editor of Our Voices, the journal of diversity for Gonzaga University

He marched into our country and he took it
for his own,
He told us all to leave or die, so we ran away
from home.

We got in boats, we crossed the sea, with
nothing on our backs,
The trip was long, the water cold, the boats
were starting to crack.

America, home of the free. Equal, brave,
and just—
America, America, o help us, please, you
must.

“You can’t be here,” the white man said,
“and you cannot stay,
you’ll take all of our work and jobs and
you’ll be in our way.”

We have no hope, we have no food, no place
we can call home,
We’re not in school, we’re not in work,
we’ve got nowhere to go.

“But you’re not trying hard enough, it’s
easy, can’t you see?
I can’t believe we let you in, you’re all so
damn lazy.”

They tell me I am lazy but they do not know
my past,
They do not care to see what lies behind my
brown-skinned mask.

I’ve crossed a couple oceans with my
daughters on my arm,
I’ve told my sons to never cry, with
weakness then comes harm.

The America I learned about in history
books in school
Is not the America that “greeted” me with
punishment and rules.

America, America, o wondrous land of the
free,
You claim you are so tolerant yet will not
accept me.

America, America, can’t you see us crying?
Send your people, send your aid, help—you
are not trying.

America, America, you claim your god’s
divine,
Well heavenly father, Jesus Christ, why do
you let us die?