If you were not able to attend the Urban Scholars Recognition Ceremony last week, you missed a treat. It was a celebration of everything good about the program. I so enjoyed the spoken word offerings from the Scholars, that I want to share one of them.
I’d like you to bask in the words of Urban Scholar SeAnna Johnson. SeAnna recited this poem at the Urban Scholar recognition ceremony, and has graciously allowed me to share it with others.
Seanna introduces her poem this way:
This piece is written to remind the world that where we are from is far beyond the physical location of where we are born….
“I Am From”
By SeAnna Rochelle Johnson
I am from Eden, the beautiful land of would-be paradise, where life was first breathed into me and the dust was divine.
I am from Jerusalem of Israel, having bore witness to a ransomer’s deed that can never fade or tarnish, and we drifted west in our forgiveness.
I am from Candace, Amina, Nzingha, Makeda, and Yaa Asantewa; the infinite queen within traced all the way back to the fortress of Elmina where the foot prints last remained sacred.
I am from late nights and early mornings of struggle & strife, blood, sweat, and tears; oh but how I got over, walking, talking, & marching up to freedom land.
I am from afros and pressing combs, ruffle socks and derby hats on Easter Sundays.
I am from “Yes ma’am, no ma’am”, “Yes sir, no sir”.
I am from Blues City; The Birthplace of Rock n’ Roll that rang a Southern Belle and the soundwaves generated one cold, melodious Minnesota Maiden; from the frozen tundra in January to a hot greasy griddle in the middle of July.
I am from First Ave Minneapolis, where it Purple Rains from Graffiti Bridge to Lake Minnetonka, the Beautiful Experience where everyone has lived the Glamorous Life and fallen victim to a Jungle Love at least once. The city where If You Love Me, you’d quit Breakin’ My Heart with those Pretty Brown Eyes, but if you know what’s best, you also wouldn’t dance Too Close.
I am from the new millennium’s end: Y2K, 2012, and Harold Camping’s “rapture”, and like Destiny’s Child, I’m a survivor.
I am from the world of all battles: Backstreet Boys vs. N’Sync, Lil Bow Wow vs. Lil Romeo, The Rock vs. Stone Cold, Dirty Dan vs Pinhead Larry, Edward vs. Jacob, and Kanye vs….Everybody.
I am from cartoon-cartoons, skippin’ & boppin’ it on a Saturday afternoon, and neighborhood tag by evening.
And when it comes time for rest, I am from cold iced tea, sugar sweet grits, sausage and gravy, and hot water cornbread at the dawn of the Gospel.
I am from Grandma’s downhome Sunday Dinner and pre-grub prayer, where Mahalia reminded us of the King on Calvary, and the food even tasted blessed.
I am from the Mighty Clouds of Joy and the Blind Boys of Alabama, wading through the storm in Amazing Grace.
I am from the everloving sprinkles on what could simply be a scoop of struggle; but like the Sounds of Blackness I’m optimistic, that regardless of the beginning there’s a happy ending.
Have a good weekend everyone,
Velma Korbel, Director Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights