I’m America. I was named after my paternal grandmother who died before I was born. She was a gifted artist, a woman who made a huge impact in a small town in Puerto Rico. I hid that name for most of my life. I hated it. It was too heavy to carry around. Like…I had to live up to it. I didn’t have the self worth to walk with it proud-fully. It took a long time to grow into that name.
But, here is the thing: I love America. I love its people. I love its beauty and acceptance. I love the freedom it gives me to raise children who didn’t have choices in third world countries. I love how we as a collective can grow and work and come together. I have made a lot of beautiful memories in this country alongside its magical folks. I have evolved into the name because of others here.
I began to own my name for the first time a year ago. Once again, now, I am reminded of its power. I am confirming its strength.
I am appalled that America means something else now. It is being utilized and abused. It is reminding me of all those years I hid from the name. It’s becoming cowardly in defeating the fear and hate. America is acting like I did for almost half a century.
America is great. We are freaking amazing and have made this country come alive through the melting pot of cultures. America isn’t white. It isn’t Indian. It isn’t black. It isn’t Hispanic. It isn’t Asian. It isn’t about believing in Christianity or Judaism. It isn’t about homosexuality or being heterosexual. It’s not about this race or that race. It consists of the human race. That’s it! It is a composition of hard work and history. It is created on diversity and differences that teach us to be acceptant of others while learning new things. It compiles millions upon millions of ancestral bones and stories. It is one of the youngest countries with so much richness and legacy. It is truly a remarkable conundrum.
Have we forgotten what it takes to be America? Let me remind you:
It is the immigrant who came here without a single dollar and created jobs for millions.
It is the homeless man who fought for our country and has been dismissed but we salute his courage.
It is the disabled who lives in utter depression and we desperately suppress it.
It is a child who can’t get food at home and waits to get to school to feed his soul and body.
America is not the throwing of statues or the killing of innocent people. No way! Those acts are not American. Those are acts of terrorism.
We have forgotten to take care of our people and now blame it on politics. We have turned away from who and what we are. We move forward three steps and backwards two. We are wobbling in blaming the world for everything that happens. But we have turned away from those in our own backyards for years. It isn’t until something outrageously politically hurts this country that we stand together.
It’s disturbing and shocking to witness, however, it is also an opportunity to clean house…to rise through empathy and compassion.
Let us not wait for things like this to happen. Let’s be mindful of feeding the collective consciousness with love and acceptance. Hateful people aren’t born that way. They are taught and in turn continue to teach fear. They continue to be the small percentage of a great mass of yummy humans who are driven by altruism.
We are a nation united under GOD with liberty and justice for all. That’s America! And much more.
I urge you to carry the name with pride. It’s taken me over forty something years to do it. Don’t hide from the magnificence of this country.
Yes, bad shit is happening. It has been happening forever. Let’s not focus on THAT. Let’s find a way to courageously stand together and overturn the hate. Let’s not tolerate the prejudice or racism. But let’s be Americans and form a chain of love and hope.
Don’t tolerate it. Absolutely not. Bullies need to be stopped. But let’s not focus on that. You have the power to use your voice for greatness. Focus on recreating this country through the goodness of compassion and kindness in our fellow citizens.
Let’s feed the homeless. Take care of our elderly. Feed our children. Help the less privilege. Shine light on mental illnesses. Educate, Darlings. Educate others to continue growing through love and acceptance. Let’s start to rebuild the morale in this great place.
Our forefathers fought for this nation and equality. It’s time we return to the origin of the name and unite as Americans.
I love you. Wear the title with pride! I am!!!!
~Millie America Parmer~