The Guatemalan from Holland - A Profile on Akil

Tiny - Posted on 08 February 2022

Akil on his Deecolonize Academy graduation trip (Image by Tiburcio Garcia)

Author: Tiny Gray- Garcia  aka PovertySkola/POOR Magazine


“I too have two opposite sides of my culture…. My dad is from Guatemala, grew up with poverty and genocide - while my mama grew up in the US with alot of resources and privileges - My Mama  had a bought life, said Akil Carrillo, as his eyes drifted off into unceratinaty 


“I am from the Bay Area and Guatemala - lived in Oakland for so long- not just SF” Akil’s voice was slow and modulated, vaguely foreboding, like there was something else behind it. And yet maybe the something else was love, a strange admixture of Eyeore and Che Guevara. 


“I am out here working with POOR, I do get paid helping others - radio journalism- schooling - interesting- and very uniqueWay better than Best Buy - Best buy wasnt the best.” concluded Akil with a faint smile playing at the corners of his mouth. 


Akil sat on the crossroads of liberation and krapitalism. Wite-ness and Brown-ness. Raza and Colonizer fights in his blood. Like my own Sun Tibu and me, he struggles wth the mestisaje CONfusion this amerikkklan society puts on you. He, like Tibu, holds the pain and privilege of wite-ness and the struggle and racist profiling of Brown-ness. 


“I am the Guatemalan from Holland,” he proclaims in his Slam Bio, something he did for his Revolutionary poetry class at Deecolonize Academy, a liberation school that happens on the sacred Ohlone/Lisjan land all of us houseless and indigneous people call Homefulness. A school Akil elected to come to, leaving the “mans skoo” as i call it forever, even when his parents were skeptical, Akil was resolute. “This is what I want to do, be a revolutionary…. “Akil paused his deep Brown eyes looking down and then continued, “work wit y’all to build this revolution,” He made this powerful proclamation one day in one of our Deecolonize Academy Talk Circles that we hold to heal all of our colonized, evicted, houseless, in struggle souls trying to mbuild this poor people led movement, cuz we know healing is an essential part of decolonizaiton and liberation.

“My dad tells me that whenever he wanted something he had to work for it- he couldnt just ask his mama- he would sell bottles to get paid- My mama went to Guatemala to find out what was really going on in the world- mama has always been stable- With Dad it was food stamps and struggle - with mama we had everything - every other week my life changed,” Akil paused, like he was going to say something else and then just stopped, like he was right back in that CONfusion of class and skin privilege colliding, trying to figure out who he was, where he was from and how to articulate the endless seas of gray area that he seemed to be always caught in.   


And then continued, “It was weird cuz i would love all the bought-ness - so when u went to stay with dad- no matter how bad it was - you would/could just ignore it- and go back to comfort of mama,” Akil finished. 


This part of his story was where me and Akil were not the same. All of Akil's family is beautiful and conscious and supportive of him and us. My colonizer, “made” dad who used my Afro-BoriKen mama to “get thru medical school” as she often screamed, tried to kill my mama and then left us on the street when I was 4 years old and yet i felt him because later when i was 7 colonizer dad used to pick me up “for visitation” and take me on these insane ski trips with thousands of dollars of ski equipment. It was never “fun’ but rather somewhat terrifying, as my dad would pop pills and be drinking the entire time, and yet the crapitalist toys and lodges and snow were so beautiful and othing i was ever used to living, barely in East Los (Angeles) and Compton with my poor mama and her screams. 


“I want to do this work, I want to figure out who i am and i want to make change, like we do here at Homefulness,” Akil ended like he began softly and without a thud, aKil is working on decolonizing all the pieces of his life and it's an honor to know him and call him one of my co-suns  


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