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People of Earth: a poem

Acting in Faith  |  By Christina Elcock, Feb 1, 2018

Los Angeles March for Immigrant Rights 

Photo: AFSC / Molly Adams // Flickr CC License

 

There is a Light in each of us, 

yet, still, we question our worth: 

“How is it that they are more free than me – 

aren’t we all people of earth?” 

  

But she is from a troubled land – 

scathed from the stampede of corruption 

and a tainted past, 

and a soiled present, 

and a muddied future 

  

In  d r e a m s  her aunt tells her, “we must go” 

and holds her hand 

tight 

to stop her knees from knocking together at the border 

on the other side, way opens 

there is opportunity on the horizon 

hidden by heavy clouds  

her aunt’s hand squeezes tighter 

as she repeats under her breath that America is synonymous with free 

that America “is every immigrant’s drea-” 

but the words lodge in her throat 

when work is hard to find 

when their language isn’t “right”  

when threat after threat hurtle out of The White House 

and the dream before them catches on fire 

and in a sudden it burns to the ground 

behind bright flames there is a coldness they cannot shake 

she awakes

nothing about this moment feels “safe” 

 

  

Again, their wellbeing is being targeted; 

their protection punctuated with an asterisk   

all along “safe” had been just a mirage 

with each case of immigrant eviction 

mounting fear grips them with an iron fist 

the land that had seemed to kiss their feet 

now bites them instead 

like unwilling civilians being drafted for war 

one by one people are being called  

It is a fox hunt; 

A game that has been rigged from the start 

with bowed heads they pray 

their hands once again joined 

hope is the song on their lips 

when safety goes astray 

community is all they have 

when discrimination pervades 

   

About the Author

Christina Elcock works for AFSC as the QVS Friends Relations Fellow. She writes blog content and curates series of posts for the Acting in Faith blog. She supports the AFSC Quaker networks and other work of Friends Relations. Previously, she worked as a Fellow at Bread and Roses Community Fund in Philadelphia. Christina graduated from Brunel University with a BA in English Literature & Creative Writing – and left with a desire to learn more about the world.

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About Friends Relations

Lucy Duncan works with other AFSC staff to foster strong relationships between AFSC and Quakers.

Lucy is AFSC’s Director of Friends Relations. She has been a storyteller for 20 years and has worked with Quaker meetings on telling stories for racial justice and of spiritual experience. She attends Green Street Friends Meeting (PhYM) and lives with her son and partner in a Quaker cemetery.

Christina is the Friends Relations Fellow this year who works closely with Lucy. She was born and raised in London, England and has a background in copywriting. Christina currently lives in the Wissahickon section of Philadelphia.

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