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Reclaiming What's Mine

Every nerve ending in my body aches and trembles with a story to be told.
With every brush-up against another person, place or thing, the discomfort grows more intense, my sense of self more raw. Nothing can tame this shrew inside my mind and the hurt within my heart it seems, except the loosing of those stories which put the pain there in the first place.
Someone, somewhere, must care about my story. There have to be people in this world who can understand what it means to inhabit the crossroads of American identity.
I live in a desegregated country that has never been properly integrated.
Growing up, I dreamed of being a foreign correspondent. I wanted to tell the story of those Haitians, West Africans and African-Americans whose human rights had been violated by the evils of racism and ethnic hatred, both of which had left me renounced by my “white” family as a teenager and a graduate of the U.S. foster care system at age 16. Instead, I ended up an uneducated single mother in the projects, trying my best to find writing jobs wherever and however I could. Still, I pushed on through college, raising my kids and writing a paper on Afrodescendant Quality of Life for the U.N. Human Rights Council, if nothing else proud at least of having never lost my voice, despite hardship. I lived to honor the resilience and perseverance of those who had pushed on before me.
I finally did make it to Haiti, several times. Once I angrily confronted MINUSTAH peacekeepers in Cite Soleil as they brandished M-16s, set up a perimeter with tanks and threw my friends face down in the dirt. Last time, I got raped by a Haitian. “I know, you just came here to help,” he told me.
As usual, alone at the Carrefour.
A few weeks after, I wrote an op-ed entitled “We Are Not Your Weapons, We Are Women.” In response, I received death threats from American and European white supremacists, my Facebook and e-mail accounts were hacked and I was invited to appear on The Today Show, an invitation I ran from. Racism and fear stole my words from me. I stopped writing and nearly speaking to others for over a year.
Today, I stand up to write. To speak. To free my nerves of the trauma that ethnic hatred has inflicted on me.

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Comments

asha's picture

Hail to You!!!

Amikijira....What a brave survivor!

This extraordinary strength and confidence should be celebrated.
I wish your words are read by those who shy away from telling the truth.
You are athe prescription we want to subscribe to our young lost women who think they are lost for ever.
My love and support.
asha

asha

amikijera's picture

Gratitude

Thank you, Asha!
This means a lot. A favorite song of mine says "It Ain't Over Until God Says It's Over."
That is what I believe =) Sending you love and gratitude...

Ami

mdorton's picture

Thank You

For sharing your story. I hope peace comes easier to you these days. You are an inspiration. Thank you.
-Megan

amikijera's picture

Inspiration

Cultivating peace from all the amazing survivors around me, Megan. Thank you for listening =)

Jan K Askin's picture

No Country is Immune

Dear Amikjera,

Often I despair fo the ongoing racism in my country, supposedly the "leader of the free world." I know that the US has not arrived at the ideal of peaceful integration, even as waves of immigrants of all persuasions knock on our doors for opportunity.

One can feel so powerless. Yet, I read your inspiring story, and know that one person at a time we can continue to raise our voices for change.

Peace to you,

Jan

Jan Askin

amikijera's picture

Truth

Thanks, Jan. I do believe every person has to learn to use their voice to the best of their abilities. Integration is definitely something we need to pay lots of attention to, especially with the number of immigrants living here but also because of those on the fringe who live racial resentment on a daily basis. When we speak of homeland security, we should be considering that, too. I appreciate your support.

Amanda

Frances Faulkner's picture

Talking

Amikijera,

Yes, speaking and writing, again and again, will begin to loosen the holds of these experiences on your heart. We are all here to listen and support you. You deserve some joy, peace, humor and beauty in order to feel whole and go forward from a rounded place of strength. You lead us with your beautiful bravery and voice.

Thank you!

Frances

amikijera's picture

Thanks

I appreciate the support. Sometimes life gets very lonely but I am learning that community exists if I can just get better at tapping into it. Writing is definitely a salve. Finally getting the peace, and am on the lookout for joy, humor and beauty =)

sallysmithr's picture

Thank you!

Your story was amazing! I'm so sorry about the things that you have gone through and you are truly an amazing individual for continuing to fight and stand up for what you believe. I worked in foster care for many years and I definately feel that you would be an awesome role model for the kids I worked with that felt that there was nothing in front of them. I wish you well and am very greatful for you sharing your story.

Thanks again and I'm here to support you all the way!

Sally Smith

Gertrude Bvindi's picture

Well said

Do you know sometimes we have very petty struggles and we cry foul, and then when i read a sroty like this one, my heart goes out to you. I am glad you decided to write again, becasue we may never have known that there are struggles like these in America. We just think its a democratic country that upholds human rights and freedoms. That is after all what they preach to us here in Africa.

Gertrude Bvindi

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