I was asked to write poetry that celebrates the diversity of Vallejo for Unity Day. One poem is to honor the past and the contributions of our ancestors, and one is a vision of the future. It was an honor to be able to perform them both at the 2017 Unity Day “One Love” celebration! Watch the video.
We come together in unity,
as one big community,
finding commonality in our shared humanity,
dancing and singing the traditional songs
that once lit the fires of our ancestors’ dreams,
as we spark our own shining out hope.
Our elders carried dreams
deep within their hearts,
perhaps, left unrealized in their time.
They worked to pave the way
that we might know a better life.
They risked their lives and livelihoods
so that we might know tastes of paradise.
We carry with us this dream
of a brighter future
for our families,
of a world where all peoples
may live in peace.
That lives filled with hardship
may be one day transformed
into a society based on love,
purpose, and progress.
No matter our origins,
our parents and grandparents
all passed down wisdom and traditions
gleaned from holy texts and personal experience.
For it is our rituals and holidays that connect our peoples,
and the values we learn from those that came before us
that form the foundations of our identities
upon which we can build an understanding of the world
and in what ways we can change it for the better.
Our city leads the nation in diversity.
Members of every faith
and of all ethnicities
reside within her streets
and are here today.
We joyously honor
the many cultures that formed us
while coming to an understanding of one another.
We work together,
make art together,
and live together.
We can show the world
what it means to come together!
Our kindness towards one another
is the blueprint
upon which a better world is built.
May love and respect reverberate,
changing the hearts of all who choose hate,
across every nation and every state.
May the words and actions of our daily lives
help every adult and child to thrive,
for love, unity, and peace is our fate!