never stopped crossing borders. The Río Grande (or Río Bravo, which is what
Mexicans call it, giving the name a power “Río Grande” just doesn’t have)
was only the first of countless barriers set in our path.
We kept jumping hurdles, kept breaking from the constraints kept
evading the border guards of every new trek. It was a metaphor to fill our
lives—that river, that first crossing, the mother of all crossings. The
L.A. River, for example, became a new barrier, keeping the Mexicans in their
neighborhoods over on the vast east side of the city Don’t speak Spanish,
don’t be Mexican—you don’t belong. Railroad tracks divided us from
communities where white people lived, such as South Gate and Lynwood across
from Watts. We were invisible people in a city which thrived on glitter,
big screens and big names, but this glamour contained none of our names,
none of our faces.
The refrain “this is not your country” echoed for a lifetime.