A few weeks ago I was asked if I could speak at an immigration rally. At first, I was a bit confused, but I agreed to it because I figured as one of the very few Hispanic staff/students of my university I should take it upon myself to speak up. I didn’t give it much thought, and as the event drew nearer, I began to think about maybe making a speech about my parents struggle to come to America and raise a family. I figured my own personal narrative would resonate with many others, and in it, I would be sure to highlight the familial values that are regarded very highly in the south. As the date drew even nearer, I vaguely had thoughts about talking about our commonalities rather than our differences. On the day of, I saw the point of contact for the event they let me know that there was a possibility that a group of KKK members would attend. I was stunned. I don’t know why I was so surprised. Perhaps I naively thought that as an institution of higher learning there would be no way there would be such a group that reveled in ignorance and hatred. It definitely should not have surprised me. I have lived in Mississippi for 3 years now, and I have seen with my own eyes and heard about it on the radio, of people holding onto the past of the Confederacy. Although I’ve grown accustomed to it, I still feel the stares and the contempt directed to my mixed racial family and me. I’ve always thought that education was a way to break down bigotry and defeat racism and hatred. But being in the south, I have learned that racism is institutionalized and is embedded within the social and legal constructs.

In the last poem, I wrote I mentioned how I heard the radio have a person deny that the civil war was about slavery. That actually happened on NPR. A radio station that I admire for always having quality programming. Although the radio station does not align themselves with the views of their guests and interviewees, I found it quite discomforting that they would allow this kind of content, but I found it even more disturbing that said person was a history expert and supposedly quite smart.

Random rant I really should be getting back to my homework.

Oh, and the event got canceled. Apparently, there were KKK members that were going to attend and incite hatred. Supposedly at a Hispanic heritage event at school, there was an open conversation that quickly turned racist and got quite heated. So it goes.

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