By Genesis Reed - Peace Corps Volunteer, Guatemala (2014 - 2016)
I come from a country that sings about liberty and freedom. I can hear it now.
I’m still singing. I haven’t stopped.
I come from a nation of people willing to fight for freedom in all forms.
We haven’t arrived, but we haven’t stopped fighting.
And although my zip code has changed, the song is still the same.
It is a song of justice, it is a song of peace, and it is a song of liberty.
It is of these things that we sing.
It is a mutual song shared throughout the world.
It is of these things that Guatemalans sing of as well.
Despite the brand you associate with America, I am your representative.
And although you may not believe my nationality and question my residency, I am here.
Not just to remind you of the spectrum of color in this world.
I am here to remind you of a dream that has been realized.
Just as you can’t imagine me being American, I can’t imagine not being American. It is all I know.
And just as you, I wasn’t a part of the process to get here, but I am the product.
Let me be a model to you, as you are to me.
Teach me about Guatemala, and I’ll teach you what I know about America.
Whatever path we may choose; please note my presence as I note yours.
And if I serve to be nothing more than a representation of a dream realized, a model to show you that freedom and liberty has no color, or as a reminder that you don’t fight for the things that you currently see.
I am content. I am American. And by grace I am here.
This poem was entered in the Volunteer category for the 2015 Peace Corps Poetry Contest. The contest received more than 1,000 submissions, representing over 50 years of Peace Corps service in more than 100 countries.