Gray Matters

A little Girl in kindergarten,

Seeking refuge in a language.

Español, lengua de amor…

Language of love,

Yet so much chaos all around.




Missed opportunity.

Mi barrio lindo,

Full of art,

Abundance of cultura everywhere.


Referred to as the “hood,”

Not much good comes out of it….



Drop outs,

No Opportunity.


What I see, is different.

Mi barrio lindo,

Full of love, full of life.

My familia,

Sought out a new journey,

Moved out of the “hood”,

And settled in a white neighborhood.


No sabia ingles,

Not one bit of English at all.

I was conditioned,

The “hood” is bad,

My people, criminals,

And me?

I wasn’t either.

Not Mexican,

Not American.



Years later I returned.

Called “gringa”

Because of my “hood”,

Got told I never understood.

My own friends,

My own school,

My own childhood…

I didn’t belong.


Never mind my admiration,

Need mind my adoration,

For the murales,

By the colores,

By the history.

Nevermind my childhood spent on a playground in La Villita.

Nevermind los desfiles mexicanos.


My history?

Immigrant parents,

First generation American,

Nobody finished a degree,

A woman is all they see.



Alive and oppressive.

No puedo hacer mas,

I can’t do more,

Family obligations,

Old school views,


Graduation that’s good news.

Con honores,

With scholarships,

Accepted into more than 15 universities.

She’ll make it big, that’s startling news.



Rights for women,

Fighting for the oppressed.

Machismo, thriving off oppression.

Feminista, activista, Estudiante, e hija.


Future holds,

Black and gray.

Gray matter,

Because black lives matter,

Brown lives matter,

And the system is STILL oppressive.

I fight for those who don’t have a voice.


Lucho, espero, y sueño.

I dream of a better future.


The study of the human mind and behavior.

My community,

Will flourish.

My dreams with become truth.

Social organizations

Hold key to information,

Hold key to opportunities,

Hold key to a better future.


Gray matters,

Society won’t always be black and white.

There’s more than meets the eye,

Me, for one,

Immigrant’s’ daughter,

Future College degree

In psychology,

With dreams of social change,

Rearranging a future,

For a better day.


The gray matters,

Will one day be understood.


About Lesly Guzman

Current college student at NEIU in Chicago, Illinois, future psychologist that serves the world. Self proclaimed Xicana and also feminist (an oh so controversial topic in today's world). I am majoring in psychology with a minor in child advocacy studies and plan to work with minority adolescents and children. Topics of importance to me range from inner city violence (present in Chicago), the importance of funding education (or lack of in my institution's case), to issues of identity, what it means to be a first generation college student, religion and culture, along with the utter most important topic of mental health. I challenge myself in my learning, in my views, and hope I may do the same in a positive manner for those I reach. I plan to help change the world one day, even if it takes a lifetime.