She held out a four-strip traditionally woven Kente stole. Kente cloth held the distinction of matching everything even when it clashed.
I feel her crawl over and slowly start pushing the comforter away from my face. Discovering my shut eyes and limp arms she proceeds to poke at first my eyes, then my nose, and finally my fingers. She settles on my ring finger and grabs it firmly. She finally lowers her body next to my pillow still holding on to my ring finger. I watch her clementine-sized hand clasp my finger for dear life. She begins to make soft chewing sounds until her breathing evens out and her body goes completely still.
I walk down the street in my flowing Ghanaian print dress. I am on my way to my favorite Ethiopian café to journal about my swearing-in ceremony. I am sentimental. I want to shout out, and then grin broadly while I tell everyone I meet, “I am a US citizen now.” I smile broadly at…
Where am I? I’m sure you are dying to know! For Christmas, I gave myself the gift of a second pilgrimage to Haiti, Ayiti, the beautiful land of beautiful people where the great economic divide is as visible as the night and day that marks the passing of time and where suffering, as widespread as it is, never keeps the people from smiling back when you make eye contact. I had to return to Ayiti. It had wrapped its arms around me in May 2002 when I made my first pilgrimage and it had refused to let go. So I honored it, and all who were in it, by returning.
In her third publication of the year, PSR alumnae, Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe, writes about the experience of negotiating identities as an immigrant to the US. She writes about changing her name, straightening her hair, and practicing her “American” accent to assimilate successfully into her new environment. The anthology, African Women Writing Resistance, was published by…
She felt Grammie’s presence in the room. She burst into tears again smiling as she saw her tears drop into the bubbling liquid. “Cook your heart out honey. That’s my girl! Oh honey, don’t cry, I’m ok, I can cook now.” Grammie seemed to say.
I. IMMIGRANTS IN A FOREIGN LAND
So if we’re going to be so darn fussy, about who is “different” then shouldn’t we all return to our original homelands? But of course, there are quite a few Americans today who cannot trace their ancestry back to their original locations, so where does that leave them? May I suggest: Ambassadors for peace, embracing and extending warm welcomes to all new immigrants?