“I have been a resident of San Mateo County for more than 20 years and a Bay Area resident for more than 40 years. I have a professional background in public health and education and a passion to help young people thrive. Poems and essays are often how I make sense of the world and myself. I find peace in nature and am a Certified Forest Therapy Guide and am earning my Educational Doctorate in Learning Design and Leadership at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.”
Poems on Belonging
LAST TIME I CHECKED
Last time I checked I was an immigrant child of nine, of non-white color Last time I checked Some kids made fun of my name and even said “Go Back to where you came from” Last time I checked So many more invited me to play four-square & hop-scotch Last time I checked I had trouble aligning my two worlds – neither felt like home to me Last time I checked Adults from both worlds encouraged me to celebrate both, take the best of both and give back to both Last time I checked There were always people who had more than me and me, who had more than many Last time I checked The world wasn’t perfectly fair, but people in general were good and most willing to help me Last time I checked I wasn’t afraid of voicing my opinions even if they were contrary to the majority Last time I checked I must have crossed an invisible line where my privilege was in moral contradiction to the lives of the needy and my opinions verging on un-acceptable Last time I checked I still believe most people want the same thing – a purpose, a livelihood, love, family & friends Last time I checked The United States of America, founded imperfectly not only on the shoulders of the enslaved and on the lands of the Native Americans, but on the backs of immigrants from around the world – still offers us All, her children a chance to live better lives together Last time I checked I still am that immigrant child believing we, Americans, of every skin color, ethnicity, immigration status, religious affiliation, gender preference, political leaning & socio-economic access will continue to uphold “Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness” for All.
WHERE HAS OUR GRACE AND COURAGE GONE?
Hyper connectivity yet detached humanity Gone is our Grace for God, Grace for All Humans on Earth Courage is no longer visible in Western Mirrors Not in our leaders, not in our elites, not in ourselves Each and everyone of us too greedy and fearful to really get involved A Million reasons why we shouldn’t Only one why we should… it is the right thing to do We tell ourselves — we don’t have an option When we all know we do and we choose not to We have collectively forgotten the lessons of history And history has shown — lessons forgotten will have to be learned again Appeasement of Evil, Fear of the repercussions won’t stop the brutality being unleashed upon the innocent Only a matter of time before our lack of grace and courage comes knocking on our doors.
Copyright © 2022 by Purvi Kunwar. Used with permission of the author.
Purvi Kunwar served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Menlo School from 2011 to 2017. Causes she supports include education, disaster and humanitarian relief, economic empowerment, health, and science and technology, among others.