A Letter to My Country

By: Valarie Owino

*The following was submitted as a monologue for North Central’s MLK celebration, “The Power of Our Stories” with the theme “A Letter to My Country.”


Dear America,

It has been three years since I said I do
Don’t mistake this for wedding vows
Rather it is a letter to my love
A country that adopted me and became home

I live in a bubble
Where my second name no longer ties me to a tribe
My eating habits are no longer linked to my native land
But I automatically fall into a series of divisions
I am now a woman of color
In a white dominated society
Oh forgot to add, a male dominated society

I took a flight
Back then I had no fright
For this African girl believed her new home was a neutral ground
Where no one is seen as a minority

But here I am
I fell into a net that filters without getting into trouble
I scratch my head trying to think of a word
I know my academic advisor would be proud if I chose the word institution
So I proudly brand this letter as a cry for rescuing
Rescue me from institutional discrimination

No one will say it aloud
But everyday remarks boil my blood like the hot springs
I am a minority due to reasons I have no control over
I am a woman in a male dominated world
I have a dark chocolate skin in a vanilla favored ice shop

I am a woman
And a proud one for that matter
But society dictates that my place is in the kitchen
And though I fancy cooking do not give me that look when I lift a heavy load
Although I love my high heels don’t stare when I wear flip-flops to the store
If I snap a picture early morning don’t comment on the laid back nature of my image

My skin is the color of the dark chocolate
You know, the kind that keeps you warm when it’s cold outside
But when I speak, don’t expect that I talk a certain way
Don’t be amazed that I do not fancy rap and hip-hop

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