Kalamu Chaché

Kalamu Chaché came to live in East Palo Alto with her family from Brooklyn, New York in the mid-1960s. After graduating from high school and pursuing a college education, she earned an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Nairobi College in East Palo Alto. Chaché has been serving the City of East Palo Alto, the Belle Haven community of Menlo Park, and the greater San Francisco Bay Area and beyond in numerous professional, executive, administrative, advocacy, and artistic areas of employment and volunteer service. A strong advocate and practitioner of activism, advocacy, and volunteerism, specializing in the areas of youth development and the Literary/Music/Performing Arts, Chaché has worked tirelessly for many causes, events, and programs. An author of three volumes of poems and vocal recording artist of the record projects, Chaché has been serving as the East Palo Alto Laureate since 1983.

Poem on Belonging

WITHIN YOU IS A LIGHT
 
Within you is a light
That needs to shine bright
For others to see
The true possibility
Of what they will need
In order to succeed.
 
Someone, somewhere, is in need of an encouraging word
To listen to the voice within that’s been heard.
Somewhere, someone is trying to find a way
To have strength for what to do or say.
Let the light within you
Help someone to make it through.
 
Within you is a light.
Keep it forever shining bright.
Use it to connect in positive ways
That will be uplifting for all of our days.
Let the light within help you to be
What people in this world need to see.

Copyright © 2022 Poetess Kalamu Chaché. Used with permission of the author.

Poet Laureate Projects

Kalamu Chaché is a poetry, jazz, and youth empowerment advocate proclaimed and called upon by the people of the City of East Palo Alto to the honorary post of community poet. She is the longest serving poet laureate in the United States.

Chaché founded Wordslam literary hub and the Wordslam Youth Poetry Contest.