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My Life In Amerikka The Beautiful MAG
As we all know, the United States is one of the most industrialized countries, where people from all over the world come in search of a better life. Like many others, my family came to the U.S. for this better way of life from Haiti. My father has been here since 1978; six years later my mother came; two years later my three sisters and I came; two months later my big brother came.
When we were in Haiti, we used to think of this country so much, we could not wait to come here. We thought that people in this country had so much wealth; we used to say that the rich people in Haiti were like the poor people here, and then we would say we didn't care if we were poor as long as we were poor in the American way. We did not think of how hard my father would have to struggle to get us here. It's not like we were selfish; it's just that we thought be had it so easy here. Were we wrong!
My father used to tell us that being in this country was the greatest thing that had ever happened to him, yet the worst thing. We did not know what he meant until we came December 13, 1986. Two months later my brother came. All seven of us had to live with one of our cousins, Jean, his wife, and their newborn daughter in a three bedroom house in Revere. It was very hard for us to get used to the way things were. My father worked the night shift; he had two jobs in order to support us. We hardly saw him. My mother had to work from 8 to 4, and leave early to get to work on time. We saw my father on weekends and even then he had to take us to meet his friends, just in case we needed something when he wasn't home.
In February, 1987 we moved to Somerville. Life was a little easier, we had our own apartment and a park right across from our house. We were so content with what we had, but the landlords warned us not to go to the park. We did not understand why, but we listened to them and did not question them. As we started to get acquainted with our neighbors and feel somewhat comfortable in our new environment, we started going to the park on those hot summer days.
One night in July, 1988, at about 10: 50 pm. we went to MacDonald's to get ice cream. We decided to go play in the park where my brother and my cousin played basketball; my little sister was riding her bike while my big sister, Surline, and I watched. At first, we noticed a bunch of white males on the other side. They seemed to be having a good time just like we were.
For no apparent reason they seemed not to like us. We heard them using some racial slurs; we did not know if they were talking about us, but then they started approaching us, saying racial slurs. As my little sister was riding her bike, one of them kicked her. In the meantime, Surline and I were talking Haitian Creole. They started calling out disgraceful things like "Niggers, get the f-- out of here, go back to your country where you belong." "You do not f--ing belong in the park ..." When my bother realized what they were doing and saying, he ran towards them, thinking he would stop them, but he found himself on the ground getting beaten up.
The rest of us could not do anything, especially my cousin, Michael, because he didn't have his green card yet. Any person in his position had to be extremely careful not to confront authority. Somehow my brother managed to get up and my sisters and I ran toward the house. My brother could hardly walk. As we got to the house, they threw a barrel of garbage at us. It all fell out in front of the house. I believed they let my brother get up because they heard sirens coming from everywhere. An ambulance and the cops came, my brother was rushed to the hospital. It had not been our family who called the cops; rather a neighbor. By this time those boys were nowhere to be seen, but luckily, the cops found three of them. I had to identify them; I did not know who was who. One of them proclaimed he was not involved; so they let him go. The police made no attempt to arrest the others. Another one said that he used to play basketball with my brother and that they only wanted to play basketball with us. The police took their names, but none was arrested.
A few days later information was found and charges were brought against three of them. Nobody in my house, including me, wanted to go to court, but I was chosen by the lawyers as the key witness. I hated it; I had to miss a lot of school, but if I did not go to court, who would help my brother? We went to court day after day; it seemed like forever. To tell you the truth, to this day, I don't know what happened to those three boys. Not that I want to know either. My brother told me that one of them got two months probation. I used to see one of them at my high school. He graduated; I am glad for him; I hope that in the future he will realize that what he did was wrong and that maybe he will change. I really would not want this to happen to anybody again.
My family still lives in Somerville; we go to the park. (Why shouldn't we go? Did we do anything to anyone?) After the incident, we tried to live our lives as if nothing had happened; we never even talked about it. Although we truly felt offended and unwanted in this country, we were not going to let this heinous incident change our attitudes toward all whites. We know that not everyone feels the way those punks do!
As the only Jehovah's Witness in my family, I know that in the eyes of Jehovah everyone is the same. I accept everyone for who they are and not what I want them to be. I do not choose my friends by their color, because that's not what's important. I choose them because of the kind of human beings they are.
I have always believed that we come into this world with nothing and we leave it with nothing. So anyone who feels that other people are "inferior" to them, or that "foreigners" might take over this country, is living in the darkness. Instead, why don't they help the newcomers and make them feel at ease? For we are in the same boat, if it sinks, we all go down.
I know what it feels like to be rejected, and nobody would want to be in my position. If people really want this country to be "America the beautiful, land of the free, land of opportunity," and not Amerikkka the disgraceful, they should teach the youngsters about hatred and racism, and how they affect other people. That way this country would be a better place, a true America the Beautiful for all the people, not only the whites, or only for blacks or Hispanics, or Asians, but "All the People."