Isabella Garcia, “Letter to My Dad”
I wish that this letter finds you well. It has been seven weeks since I started college and it has been challenging for me to adapt because of work, but I’m managing. All my classes are going well and for the most part, I like them. It’s unfortunate that I am online once again but that situation is out of my hands.
In my English class we are reading amazing material. I am reading a book called When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele. It is a memoir based upon the Black Lives Matter movement. I love it and I believe you would too! I enjoy the tone of the book due to the fact it feels as if the author is right in front of me telling me the story. What I have read so far reminds me of some moments that happened in our life when I was growing up and the stories you’d tell me about your childhood. For instance, when my mom would struggle to take me to school on time because of the problems that would occur with the car, but managed to have me there in time. Then she’d go to work all day just to provide money to feed us. A line in the book that reminded me of that is when she states “ My mother worked 16 hours a day, at two and sometimes three jobs.” This really hit close to home and made me want to continue reading.
As I continued reading there were two parts that made me realize how similarly you and Khan-Cullors grew up. She states “My mother, Cherice, raises us—my older brothers Paul and Monte, my baby sister Jasmine, and me— on a Block that is the main strip in my Van Nuys, California, mostly Mexican neighborhood.” This reminded me of the way you explain to me how you and the five of your siblings grew up in Pacoima, which was known to be dangerous in your childhood. You described to me that your neighbors were mostly Mexican and partly Black, and that you lived near the projects where the less fortunate lived.
This book truly opens another perspective on people that I didn’t realize. It makes me understand how difficult it is to grow up in a family that struggles every day to make a decent living. Although this book is based off a Black Lives Matter movement, it still ties connection to stories that you had told me when you were in high school. It amazes me how you got to see history in the movement, which was the Civil Rights movement, the riots, and the struggle being a Mexican in a high school that was impacted with different races. In the book Khan-Cullors states, “Where we lived is multi-racial, although by far the majority of the people are Mexican. But they’re Korean people and black people like us.” That line really stuck out to me because it reminded me of that time you went to a football game against Granada Hills and the majority of the people on the team were white and you guys were targeted because of the mixed races that were involved in the San Fernando football team. That line really showed me you weren’t alone, but you were with people who felt what you were going through in that moment.
I hope that next time I see you we can read the book together. It’ll be a great bonding experience because although we have different struggles than the author, we will still find ways to connect with her struggles. This book is a great way to inform ourselves to see how a different race grows up and the conflict that comes along. Once you get to read the whole book I think you would care more for and look out for your nephew who comes from two races, Mexican and Black.
Anyways, thank you for reading this, and please respond back to me because I would love your insight on the information that I provided you. Thank you!
your daughter, Isabella