We are America

by Kiko Matsing

Carlos Bulosan (1913-1956)

It is but fair to say that America is not a land of one race or one class of men. We are all Americans that have toiled and suffered and known oppression and defeat. From the first Indian that offered peace in Manhattan to the last Filipino pea pickers. America is not bound by geographical latitudes. America is in the hearts of men that died for freedom it is also in the eyes of men that are building a new world. America is a prophecy of a new society of men: of a system that knows no sorrow or strife or suffering. America is a warning to those who would try to falsify the ideals of freemen.

America is also the nameless foreigner, the homeless refugee, the hungry boy begging for a job and the black body dangling on a tree. America is the illiterate immigrant who is ashamed that the world of books and intellectual opportunities is closed to him. We are all that nameless foreigner, that homeless refugee, that hungry boy, that illiterate immigrant and that lynched black body. All of us, from the first Adams to the last Filipino, native born or alien, educated or illiterate–We are America!

(from America is in the Heart, p.188-189 )

Currently in a reading group working on Carlos Bulosan’s America is in the Heart. This passage just resonates with me after the recent mass shooting by an Islamic radical couple (and ISIS sympathizers) which killed 14 in San Bernardino, CA.

A couple embraces following the shooting rampage in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed at least 14 people and wounded others at Inland Regional Center, a facility for people with developmental disabilities. (Source: MSNBC)