Hasta la raíz: In the wake of Orlando (a speech by Asiel Adan Sanchez)
By: Asiel Adan Sanchez
The following words were read by Asiel Adan Sanchez at a vigil held for the victims of Orlando in Melbourne, Australia this month. The writer kindly shared their words to be published here, including statements in both Spanish and English.
My name is Asiel, I’m Mexican, I’m a non-binary person of colour, I’m Latinx
I’d like to start by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today and pay my respects to their elders past and present. In particular, I’d like to acknowledge LGBTIQ elders past and present and LGBTIQ sistergirl and brotherboy indigenous communities who are here today. I’d like to acknowledge our collective grief over the incidents that happened in Orlando.
I apologise if my speech is a bit unorthodox, but firstly I’d like to acknowledge the latinx and LGBTIQ latin American community.
Mis condolencias, mi amor, mi soporte para todos los que estan aqui presente y para el resto de la diaspora latino-americana en Australia. Perdon a mis amigos brazilenos, mi cabeza apenas da para espanol. Creo que lo que mas dolio es estar tan aislados. Del pais, de la cultura, de la familia. En los ocho anos que llevo aqui en Melbourne he conocido muy pocas personas latinx, gay, lesbianas, bisexuals, trans, intersex de America Latina, mucho menos de mexico. Creo que tenemos que empezarnos a conocer, como es tu cultura, como navegas tu nacionalidad, tu genero, tu sexualidad, tu familia. Como te ha impactado todo esto, empezar a tener esas conversaciones. En realidad tenemos una identidad y experiencia muy unica, creo que tenemos que celebrarla, especialmente en estos periodos tan dificiles, hay que darnos soporte. Hay un Proyecto creado por Cristian Cortes Garzon, busquenlo en Facebook LGBTI Latin American and Hispanics in Australia, denle un like or busquenlo en la red www.lgbtilatin.org, lgbtilatin.org. De esta tragedia, hay que crear una comunidad.
Secondly, I’d like to express my grief for other queer people of colour, we stand here in solidarity. I kept thinking what to say and can only speak of my own experience, but hopefully others can find their thoughts echoed.
Oh america i used to look up to you as one does in awe of privilege and opportunity and though you called me names and constantly reminded me of how i was a virus on your country i used to look up to you america before realising that privilege and opportunity only exists out of deep systemic oppression and now i wonder america if you’ll ever own up to it and say i care more about my guns than about your people america i care more about whites than about blacks america i care more about your papers than your personhood america i care more about my bathrooms than about your lives america i care more about his swimming records than her trauma and i wonder america if that type of freedom is really ethical and i wonder america if you’re capable of drone bombs will the lives of fifty queer people of colour really change anything
australia we don’t shoot but we suffocate we suffocate in our schools at the altar and in parliament where you’re always louder than i am we suffocate on manus and christmas island and nauru where we’re torn bit by bit and every bit of our soul goes toward your polls australia we suffocate on the reef and in pilbara where the oppression of Indigenous people and Indigenous land is one and the same australia where’s your connection to country we suffocate in our churches our mosques our synagogues looking for safe heavens looking for unity and wholesomeness australia you keep burning coal i wonder if there will be enough air for all of us to breathe
it’s odd when some parts of you are more valued than others i mourned the death of 43 students in my mother’s home town privately there was no vigil but i mourned anyway and i mourn today another 7 in veracruz another 300 in juarez and it’s odd to think how queer people of colour always mourn twice but once in silence
my Muslim friends my queer Muslim friends everywhere i look i’m a drug trafficker and you’re a terrorist and we’re asked to explain time and time again decades of violence and decades of trauma time and time again to explain when will we stop killing people time and time again and we seldom get to speak about how much it hurts to put those pieces together and we seldom get to speak about how much it hurts to see your country your home your culture get destroyed by multiple incomprehensible systems
i’m sorry // i’m sorry
Asiel Adan Sanchez has two last names and does not believe in bios.