A Letter by Morisa Berroa

Movement derives from within our DNA.

Innately ours, down to a molecular level. Let’s call it a gift of survival, our ability to adapt
to what the world deemed and required us to fit into as we were shackled and shoved
into large-conquering ships.


Mo has filled countless journals since the age of seven. She writes because sometimes spoken word is not enough and a quiet page allows her a space to hear the world around her. She shares her love of writing with her NYC public high school students.  

Our movement kept us fluid with the currents of the sea, birthing the sway of our hips as our knees dipped in synchrony with the waves that crashed against the wooden decks imprisoning us. We understood those waves to be secret songs and dance created just for us by our gods. 

Once on laboring lands, stillness was not an option. Still shackled, inches apart and with arms high above our heads, again our knees dipped as we drove down tool to shifted soil. Our movement harvested lands and feed the masses until there were children to care for and they moved us inside. We nursed their babies, carrying their weight against our wide hips, and again our movement rocked their young to sleep. 

And as their children slept peacefully upon our shoulders, lulled by the rise and fall of the breath in our chest, we were pushed into the kitchen. It was common for husband to
plow the fields from sun up to sun down, while wife managed coal and created a melody
of spices over a hot stove. Our movement to and fro prepared a dinner table we were
never invited to sit at. 

Now, we move among you, between you, and sometimes besides you. Our movement
hypnotizes you. We understand why you stop and stare when you see us surefooted
and steadfast. We are free to dance about you, so you steal our music and demonize
our song or claim it as your own. And while you’ve decided it’s time to move us again,
threatening to send us back to the lands we were stolen from, know the ground you
rush upon to command, we moved first. It is built on the rhythm of our heart, nourished
by our blood, and feat of our enduring spirit. 

Mr. President, you should know our movement is a gift, a pace you will never replicate,
replace or keep. You should know movement is in our DNA, there is nothing you can
move us to do that we haven’t conquered already. 



The Acentos Review 2019