I was asked to perform the spoken word poem for Care Ring late in the game. The poem had already been beautifully written by group members Akello and Lucy, practiced for weeks and fined tuned for the stage. Then I jumped in. I found it difficult to balance being a new voice and allowing those who had written it to perform it the way they imagined. I heard and said this poem around 50 times in a single week, and the words started to hit home.
I listened as Akello described his transformation in thinking. I watched as my Slam-ily (a combination of Slam and Family, name for those who are involved in writing poems for Connecting Charlotte) heard this poem over and over again, and then something changed. I always knew that Care Ring’s work was important. I have spent hours arguing with my family over healthcare, but honestly I have never had to skip an appointment because other financial burdens outweighed my current need. I tear my meniscus; surgery is scheduled within a week. I have a sinus infection; antibiotics and steroids that night. My health has never been in question. I have always had access to the care I need and more. Why is that? Because I happened to be born into the family I can my own. Because my parents were fortunate enough to overcome all of the challenges in life and have secure prosperous, full-time jobs. The real reason I have never quested the availability of healthcare is because I got lucky.
That’s when it clicked. I realized that I needed to feel all of that frustration I felt with those who I claim just don’t get it, all of the gratitude I have for my blind luck in life, all of the hope I have for those who cannot get what they need right now, and most importantly all of the awe and inspiration Care Ring stimulates when people understand their work. That is what they need from me. That is what they deserve. That is what I owe them. That is what I gave when I stood on stage the night of November 15, 2016.
#poetryslam #playingforothers #healthcare #communitypartner #CareRing