By Janet Rojas Vazquez
My erasure poem “Armed Allegiance” represents the immigrant experience.
I moved from Mexico to America when I was young, and I know how hard it is to adapt to a new place. The Naturalization Oath is important to me because it reflects the sacrifices my parents made to give me more opportunities in life.
I know many undocumented immigrants dream of becoming U.S. citizens and see it as the ultimate achievement. I also wanted this poem to convey how important it is for me to make my parents proud and show them that their hard work was worth it.
I hadn’t heard of erasure poetry until I attended the Girls Write Now workshop on it. I love erasure poems because I can create something new that is meaningful to me. My mentor Lily and I came up with the idea for this multimedia poem together. We used the Blackout Bard app and started with the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance. The app didn’t work at first, which was stressful, but I kept trying. When I completed the piece, I felt relieved and happy because I created a poem that reflects my beliefs about immigration with the help of my mentor Lily.
Meet the Pair
MENTEE JANET ROJAS VAZQUEZ & MENTOR LILY BUTLER
Janet’s Anecdote: I honestly never saw myself as a writer, but Girls Write Now has taught me so many new methods of expressing myself through writing. Working with my mentor Lily has been incredible and she has taught me so many things. Getting to know her has been amazing because she’s a confident woman I look up to. I have learned so much from Lily, and working with her always feels comfortable and creative. I’m so glad I got to join Girls Write Now, because it has given me the opportunity to write about things that matter to me.
Lily’s Anecdote: Whenever someone asks me about Girls Write Now, the first thing I talk about is how much my mentee Janet inspires me. I am constantly amazed by Janet’s commitment to our work together and the causes she cares about. Despite juggling an array of extracurricular commitments, schoolwork, and family responsibilities, she always makes time for this program and brings contagious enthusiasm to everything we do. I could go on and on about how thoughtful, brave, and motivated Janet is, but “she’s an inspiration” sums it up pretty well. She has taught me more than I ever imagined, and I can’t wait to see (and read) what she accomplishes in the future.
Janet Rojas Vazquez is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in Brooklyn, NY.