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Engaging our Differences

They say that our youth are a lost generation
That they do not possess the humanity of previous generations
But if you know like I know and see the hope in their eyes
If you've traveled the world and heard their cries
You would find that our youth are soldiers for humanity
From Ryan's Wells to Craig's Free Kids
Our youth have answered the call to engage our differences
From African advocates of aids like Olivia Natukunda
To peer educators like Miguel Garcia
Our youth daily deliver deeds of dignity
They demonstrate courage in the face of adversity
They fight for access to day care and universities
They add hope to our subtracted faith and disparities
And through their multiple deeds they erase our divisions
See our youth are on a mission
To heal a world so callously cut with the knife of indifference
Punched with the fist of intolerance
Kicked with the heal of homophobia
Suffocated with the gas of anti-Semitism
Shot with the rifle of racism
Subdued to submission with sexism
And smacked with the backhand of classism
But with all these withered wounds our youth thrive
They heal their hurt, help build homes and save lives
They feed the famished and wage verbal wars for peace
With an idealism many of us have lamentably lost
They make our future brighter by lighting a fire
Under our complacency
And so we celebrate Jackie Blitz and Andrew Vanstee
The late Mattie Stepanek and Selene Biffi
For reminding us all to never stop fighting for change
And showing us that peace and justice
Must always be our one and only aim

A poetic tribute to President Nelson Mandela

They say never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes
But what happens when the man has neither shoes nor socks to walk in?
Would you willfully walk that mile?
Would you accept all adversity with a frown and a smile?
Would you still run the race against racism with grace and style?
Would you work wearily to weave a tapestry of diversity and shared fate
Against those who continue to practice apart-hate?
Mandela
Would your heart shine bright when deprived of sunlight?
Mandela
Would your spirit sing a song of liberation when it’s denied instrumentation?
Mandela
As they tried at Robben Island to rob you of your soul
You literally rolled Rholihlahla with each punch as you crunched in your hole
We stand here because of you
We breathe freely because of you
And you walked the long walk to freedom with no shoes and socks
So that we will not have to
Mandela
You walked for those without homes and even the land-dwellers
Mandela
You, the son of Mother Earth
Father to a nation
Grandfather to our future
Brother to African liberation
From Cape Town to Kinshasa you led like no other
To remind us to put our arms down and hands forward to embrace one another
Mandela
Because of you the world is encouraged to up rise like Soweto
So-we-too rise above the mentality of the ghetto
To claim the universe as our humble home
Overseas maligned media would disgrace the Madiba
But we saw through their lies as we looked at tattered posters into your eyes
Your hope in humanity helps us fly Tran-skeis
And when peace did not work on the path for a free way
You chauffeured us on the highway of Umkhonto we sizwe
And when so many believed that there was still no way
Your perseverance and piety led all of us nobly to the Nobel in Norway
And so we will make peace our prize
And we will walk on this path of freedom with our shoes on and heads held high
In a world where courage and pride can be hard to find like a Black Pimpernel
Because YOU have walked this earth Madiba, the future for all humanity bodes well

Mandela!