ode to the immigrant.

by Kelly Yoshimura


No one ever told me about the isolation that would come from homemade tortillas and rolled r’s. 

How a second language was my true mother tongue and my mother’s tongue would be scrutinized by people who only knew one language. 

Because my heart secretly yearned for someone who could understand. For “Judge Judy” over “Caso Cerrado”.

Never was it said that an easy life was destined for an immigrant’s daughter. Where the American Dream seemed to be unattainable as the culture within me clashed. 

Never was it said that an easy life was destined for the immigrant. Where the American dream seemed like an acceptable form of forced assimilation and reformation in exchange for a foot of land in the land of opportunity.

The struggle to maintain the culture and the traditions in an increasingly Americanized child. The barriers of language and social norms ever so divisive and difficult to overcome.

This is an ode to the immigrant. 

An ode to the expectation to work twice as hard for half the recognition. To the heartbreak of knowing that your child will never fully appreciate the culture you grew up in. 

This is an ode to the immigrant. 

An ode to the fables and stories from your childhood that will be passed on for generations. To the food rich in spices and flavors. 

To my mother. 

Con mucho amor. 


a message from the poet:

Kelly Yoshimura - Executive Leadership Member + San Pedro City Representative

"I’m Kelly Yoshimura and I’m currently a junior at San Pedro High School. I’m a California native and a first generation Mexican-American and second generation Japanese-American. I speak both Spanish and English fluently and I frequently visit Mexico during vacation. I love listening to broadway musicals and traveling to different places. I joined the Asian Hispanic Empowerment organization by chance when I saw them posting on Instagram. I had never seen Asian and Hispanic together in one organization and I felt an immediate connection. After exploring their page and mission statement, I realized how incredible it would have been if I had learned about anti-racism and ally ship when I was younger. I aligned a lot with the organization’s values and was inspired to apply to be San Pedro’s city representative. I hope I can contribute to this great organization and represent AHEO the best I can."

-Kelly Yoshimura