#31DaysIBPOC: Gratitude & Goodbye

I loved concluding the series this year. It allowed me the time to go back, reread and savor the gift that #31DaysIBPOC is. I was able to be moved over and over again at the range of experiences, the brilliance of the writing, and the complexities of living.

Thank you to everyone who wrote, to everyone who read and shared these essays, and who will continue to revisit them in the year to come. To our growing family of supporters: Please support these professionals! For the ones who have Venmos or causes they support, donate in solidarity or to say thank you. If you are looking for people to lead your professional development, please, hire these folx and all the folx who have written for the series over these three years. And, of course, please pay them what they are worth.

I pulled lines from all this month’s posts to compose this found poem of gratitude for all of our writers and to close out May.

The highest gratitude goes to my dear friend, Tricia Ebarvia, who is the very best collaborator I could have wished for and who is proof that I am abundantly blessed with so many good people in my life. Be well, everyone.

Assembling a poem, being moved by the voices…

Found Poem for #31DaysIBPOC

Because I come from a lineage of strong-willed, determined, fierce women I foolishly thought I was invincible.1
I didn’t talk about this Black soul scar with my parents until I was 43 years old.2
Imagine being afraid to sleep for days, months, years, and lifetimes and you will still only understand a fraction of my rage, my exhaustion, my fear, my loneliness, and my deep, deep sorrow.3

Today, I am ready to tell the story of my darkest times, to reckon with these times publicly because in the light, there is healing.4

You are not made for simple palates.

I knew the power of stories, that’s why I began telling stories in the first place.6
I shudder to think of all the cultural pride I sacrificed at the altar of attempted assimilation over the years.7
What is “excellent” about lacking the courage to face our history, learn from it, and forge a path forward that is not built on the backs and blood of Black people, the theft of indigenous land, and the criminalization and imprisonment of those we fear?8
A Palestinian mama has no control over her fate or the fate of her children. Her daughter is a Palestinian.9

If we truly believe that we want schools to be a safe place for students, why aren’t they?10

Despite my own experiences and intimate knowledge of the variations of being Black, here I was limiting my view of Black students and what they would need and where they would be. 11
I will not traumatize you based on YOUR cultural identity and connections to family, place, land, tradition, and language; rather it will be a celebration ALL year.12
I want more parents to ask questions. I want educators to welcome their questions, and when necessary, I want us to change what we’re doing in the classrooms or spaces where we teach.13

And all that I had lost, willfully lost…was it too late to reclaim? 14

But she has shown me, even still in these struggles, we resist, we love and we find joy.15

Sitting next to all that is too much are also other things, things like truth, community, kinship, and love.16

The difference between me as a child and me as an adult is that as an adult, I don’t listen to other voices to validate my own experiences anymore.17
I center Black joy and Black folx living they regular degular lives in my instruction.18
We need to resist through joy. We feel it deeply. We feel it urgently.19
Our power resides in our collective strength. We are what we are seeking.20

As a Black person I couldn’t believe that escaping for freedom was even debatable.21
They may fire their cannons or launch their missiles, but I stand firm with my flag erected, for I will fight no more.
Representation is important but that is only a step toward liberation.22

I am getting better at reminding myself that those who harbor hatred need to work on themselves…and get out of my/our way.23
You are a divine being worthy of rest.24
You, showing up exactly as you are, isn’t just good enough–it’s inspiring, and brave, and powerful.25
We can be the love we need and the joy this world tries to take away.26
We can come to realize how small our world is and how big the rest of the world is but, even with our wings clipped, we can visit beyond the margins of our cage.27

We shall revel in the abundance of each other.28

This blog post is part of the #31DaysIBPOC Blog Series, a month-long movement to feature the voices of indigenous and teachers of color as writers and scholars. Please CLICK HERE to read yesterday’s blog post by shea martin(and be sure to check out the link at the end of each post to catch up on the rest of the blog series).

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