1992marks the yearmy grandmotherfinallymade it to the United States. 2017marks the year she becamea citizen. somewhere in betweenthose yearsI realizedAmericadoes not look like me.soon after came the realization thatAmerica only lovesa familiar face-a face so unlike mine. it was a Tuesday.November 8,my school wasabuzza flurry of American flagsand appreciation. we were sure of the outcome. same Tuesdaylate at nightmy brother asked me if we would be okay.something I will never forget:the look in his eyes once he discoveredhis brownness would be used against him he was twelve years old. i am sixteen and still reeling. at eight years old my history class taught me:give me your tired,your poor America,my people are tired.a country wasbuilt on our backsand you refuse to admit it. white americaforced us into poverty and made a cycle we can't escape-stacked everythingin their favor.branded us criminal and made us into a threat. my parents cameto escape war. america was their only hope.and I am America-I am a dream realized.manifested into a destiny,a better life. I carry years of struggle and growthin my veins. fifteen years oldI learn for the first timewhat actually happened to indigenous people during colonization.it is also the first timeI connect the dots.how people of color weresystematically oppressedfrom the very beginning of history. eleven years oldmy family is followed around in a store.we are nervous. nine years oldmy father comes inand dusts off his paint-splattered shirtsmelling like trees sore and tired from hours of strenuous work in the sunwhile the TV recounts the story of a lazy immigrant. four years oldDora is the only brown person on my television screen.she speaks Spanish.it is a language I understand, a tongue my parents try to replace. thirteen and I realizethat I am the only Latinostudent in my classroom.I am uncomfortable. maybe it is because I know only two scenarios:I am either too brown for comfort in a white spaceor I am breathing easy at home. my brothers and sisters,brown and unapologetic,are huddled masses yearning to breathe free.let us in let us live.