The Brown Church Poem

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


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 detendrá; 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, Bolívia, Brasil, 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

I am Gutiérrez, Boff y Romero

Yo sé que el Reino de Díos trae liberación

Que el Espiritu nos libera

Como Protestantes, we also protested—

Porque “la ropa anglo-sajon” strangled

la Buena Nueva

Soy Padilla y Escobar,

Recobrando la misión integral del Señor

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


Robert Chao Romero