On Wednesday, March 21, I had the honor and privilege of hosting 'Poems for Parkland' in honor of World Poetry Day at From the Ground Up Community Garden. The event was an open mic style event, welcoming all to share their thoughts, feelings and perspectives in response to the tragic events in Parkland. We intentionally left it open in hopes of encouraging all to share.
I BEGAN WITH A REMINDER AS TO WHY WE WERE THERE
And followed with a charge to the audience.
I want to start out with a moment of silence.
Not just for those at Marjory Stoneman Douglas or other schools who have experienced shootings, but for all those in communities across the country who have dealt with gun violence.
Around the end of February, I was at the open mic held twice a month at Constant Coffee. I had two pieces that I wanted to share—both of which I was terrified to read. I was worried about what people would think and how their perception of me could change. As someone who values harmony, I struggled with introducing something that could cause conflict. And as someone who also values justice, I struggled with not speaking that truth to power. It was like the more I tried to silence my voice, the more I tried to bury what was on my heart, the harder it beat, as if the truth was fighting its way to the surface.
I thought about bowing out. I thought, “Well...I’ll just share next time.” I thought, “It’s not finished, I won’t be able to say it as good, I should just wait.” I thought.
But I knew, that it would be a disservice to myself and the people who came out that night if I were to remain silent. And as someone who believes in service to all mankind, I knew there was no room for self-pity, and there was no room for dread.
So I say all that to say that if you have something on your heart. If there’s an earthquake in your chest and a revolution on your tongue. If you have truth to speak to power, it would be a disservice to yourself and everyone here if you kept it to yourself. If you have food for thought and seeds of knowledge, plant them.
We’re in a garden, after all. 🌱
We heard from various members of the community, including The Asia Project, a well known dynamic duo, whose spoken word artistry has been featured on Button Poetry and HBO Def Poetry Jam. He debuted a new piece and also shared his insights on the epidemic.
Skip to 3:30 to dive right into the poem.