I come to your country asking for you to see and judge me by the way I treat and respect you and your country.
Judge me by how I acknowledge you and abide by your laws and rules of inclusion, and show my appreciation by hard work for allowing me to dwell in your home, by how I disavow the leaders and radicals of my own country who are doing harm to you and so many people all over the world.
This is not me, or any of my friends or family. We abhor violence and extremism and unorthodox methods to enforce the pretension that the beliefs and manufactured history makes any group superior. Please do not judge me based on these people and the things they are saying and doing in the name of “righteousness”.
I vow to you, this is not me, not my husband, not my mother or father, or uncle, sister, or son or daughter, or any of my friends; who would all stand to barricade and to protect you from these people that look like me, but are not me…. they are there to do you harm in an attempt to make themselves feel stronger and more righteous in their radical beliefs, in the hopes of you cowering and living in fear.
My soul burns for the atrocities that are done in the name of my home and culture, but my voice feels very small no matter how fervently I protest these actions.
Who am I?
I am so many who are yet to be heard.
I am in unity with all people of the world who strive for peace in every day life and see the beauty and uniqueness in every beautiful struggling person within everyday actions, from every country everywhere. We are all individual human beings wanting the same things.
Please let me work with you against oppression, hate and mistrust …moving in a united way toward peace, respect and unity, bonding us in the commonality of all people.
I am not from Africa, I am not from South or Central America or Mexico, I am not from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, I am not from Palestine, I am not from Israel, Syria, Saudi Arabia, I am not from Korea, I am not from China, the Philippines, or Japan.
I did not think I was oppressed, but I was wrong.
I am an American… and I am so sorry and want so much to help heal what oppression, rights and resources we’ve taken from you.
Healing is who I am, and like so many others from other nations I just want to be part of rebuilding and healing and unifying a respect, trust and appreciation of all people again or possibly for the first time.
I know the Country you were born into does not completely define you, your beliefs, your decisions or alliances.
Please know America does not completely define me, my beliefs, my decisions, or alliances.
There are many things about our Countries we love, however like having a child we are given the responsibility to redirect and scold them when they behave badly and use poor judgement or are moving in a thoughtless way. This is my responsibility to my Country and to you. This is who I am……
– – Judy Terra, 2017
– – Photography by Judy Terra and Michael Guttman