As Latina/o followers of Jesus who care about justice, it’s hard to know where we fit, where we belong. I’ve discovered that we have a 500-year history. We’re not alone. We are the Brown Church.
I am the Brown Church.
God calls me mija/mijo.
Brown, black, white, even yellow, are all within me
When Black and White come to talk, my voice is not heard,
I am not invited to the table
I share much with my Black sisters and brothers, yet my voice is distinct
I long, I cry out to be heard for who I am
THE BROWN CHURCH
Yo soy Montesinos, gritando, in 1511, “The Conquest is opposed to Christ”
y Bartolomé de Las Casas, whose eyes like Moses were opened to the suffering of his people and never looked back
Yo soy Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz,
My heart burns for the treasures of wisdom which are hidden in Christ
Though machísmo assails me, aunque está bloqueado el camino, I do not relent
Yo soy Catarina de San Juan, “La China Poblana”
Stolen from Asia, enslaved by Spanish masters, I find freedom as the Bride of Christ
I too hold the keys of the Kingdom
Yo soy Padre Antonio Martínez de Nuevo México
Aunque robaron a Aztlán, I know no nation holds a manifest destiny to decimate the people of another, also beloved of God
In the time of Jim Crow, they called me “wetback,” “beaner,” “spic,” and sent me to “Mexican schools”
Yet, I am Méndez, Bernal, Perales, Calleros. My children are not cows; you cannot place them in a barn.
Yo soy Mama Leo y Santos Elizondo, MUJERES, forged in tongues of fire
Nadie me detendra; El Espíritu del Señor está sobre mi
I am Dolores Huerta and César Chávez
I was raised in the bosom of Abuelita Theology
And know that the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of God
Unos años despues, mis primos huyeron la tierra madre
The land of the Savior, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Centroamérica
Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, y al resto del Sudamerica
Empujada por el huracán de violencia
Guerillas, Reagan, priest, all vied for me
Yet on Christ my eyes were fixed
Yo soy los dos alas del mismo pájaro,
Puerto Riqueño, Neyorican, Cubano, y Dominicano también
Though the colonizers have changed, the cries of Las Casas still ring strong in my ears
I am a Dreamer; indocumentado; sin papeles.
No human being is illegal. Jesús es mi refugio. I am a child of God.
I now seek my voice, thoughts of God my own
I also am among the 12
God calls me mija/mijo
I AM THE BROWN CHURCH
Robert Chao Romero
P.S., to join together with other Latin@s, and friends of the Latin@ comunidad, who care passionately about issues of race and gender justice, please join the Brown Ecclesial Network (B.E.N.)! https://www.facebook.com/groups/265822537133931/