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Hector Salamanca, an AFSC Iowa Dreamer and intern, reads a poem written by Michael McConnell to celebrate the creation of AFSC's Midwest Region in 2012. Michael was an AFSC regional director for 23 years until his passing April 7, 2013. AFSC has established the Michael McConnell Youth Internship Fund to help carry on Michael's passion for peace and justice.

Here's the text of the poem:

WE ARE THE MIDWEST
Together we're on a quest
We call on TIAA-CREF to divest
and the Pentagon to stop their war chest.
Citizens United we detest.
When kids are in conflict we cannot rest
until their problems are redressed
or they make their mark in a trillion dollar video contest.
We stand with cab drivers in their request
until a fare increase is addressed.
Life-affirming businesses are finessed
for refugees and dreamers to be unstressed.
Quite simply, we side with the dispossessed
whether in prison due to arrest
or immigrants who should be our guests.
We are obsessed to make unrest
to stir up a hornets nest
and wrest the power from the billionaires blest
we do attest and have confessed
to side with the oppressed
and not politicians who fail the test
ego and power obsessed.
We're not impressed they are a pest.
All injustice we do protest
and we do all of this because
we are the best
we do all of this because
WE ARE THE MIDWEST

TOAST
As a region may we work hard
but not so hard as to sacrifice our health and balance, our friends and family
May we have many victories
but even if we lose, may we find a way to gain
in every negative find a positive
in every setback, a way forward
and along the way,
let us find a way to have a whole lot of laughter and fun

Author: 
Jon Krieg