Juneteenth to July 4th

An opportunity to reflect on Freedom and Racial Injustice

O - Origins

Poem: My Ancestory DNA by Fred LaMotte

My Ancestry DNA results came in.

Just as I suspected, my great great grandfather

was a monarch butterfly.

Much of who I am is still wriggling under a stone.

I am part larva, but part hummingbird too.

There is dinosaur tar in my bone marrow.

My golden hair sprang out of a meadow in Palestine.

Genghis Khan is my fourth cousin,

but I didn't get his dimples.

My loins are loaded with banyan seeds from Sri Lanka,

but I descended from Ravanna, not Ram.

My uncle is a mastodon.

There are traces of white people in my saliva.

3.7 billion years ago I swirled in golden dust,

dreaming of a planet overgrown with lingams and yonis.

More recently, say 60,000 B.C.

I walked on hairy paws across a land bridge

joining Sweden to Botswana.

I am the bastard of the sun and moon.

I can no longer hide my heritage of raindrops and cougar scat.

I am made of your grandmother's tears.

You conquered rival tribesmen of your own color,

chained them together, marched them naked to the coast,

and sold them to colonials from Savannah.

I was that brother you sold, I was the slave trader,

I was the chain.

Admit it, you have wings, vast and golden,

like mine, like mine.

You have sweat, black and salty,

like mine, like mine.

You have secrets silently singing in your blood,

like mine, like mine.

Don't pretend that earth is not one family.

Don't pretend we never hung from the same branch.

Don't pretend we don't ripen on each other's breath.

Don't pretend we didn't come here to forgive.

Poem: Color ©️ by Namrata Mathur

Why must color divide mankind?

We choose all colors for the clothes we adorn,

yet, we begrudge the soul for the color of the body to which it is born.

Unbearable to think we can be so shallow, when we stop at the color of the skin, we don’t take the time to seek within, for if we dare, we will see that there is no difference between you and me

When peace, love and equality win the day, we will unite as one in the very best way, no power in the world to divide us then, humanity will take flight, and spreads its wings, and all mankind will fit within.

Calls To Action

  • Listen to the Code Switch podcast “Where Are You Really From?” dated June 2, 2021, which introduces another relevant podcast “Where Are We From?”

  • Listen to another relevant Code Switch episode from August 10, 2017, “When 'Where Are You From?' Takes You Someplace Unexpected”, about a DNA discussion and people learning their personal history isn’t what they thought.

  • Invite a neighbor or acquaintance over for a meal to get to know one another better.

  • Ancestry Library Edition brings the world's most popular consumer online genealogy resource to your library. You can unlock the story of you with sources like censuses, vital records, immigration records, family histories, military records, court and legal documents, directories, photos, maps, and more. You may use Ancestry at home during the COVID-19 outbreak with your library card. Please go to https://www.hopkintonlibrary.org/resources.asp for instructions.

  • Watch this beautiful five-minute video below from Anna Gammal, a Hopkinton resident, the owner of Body n’ Beyond, and a member of the massage team for elite Boston Marathon runners, as she shares one of her stories as an immigrant from Greece during her early days in the U.S. Anna’s story is a reminder to all who are not new to this country of the value of being patient and welcoming to immigrants and how humor can help foster connection. For many more engaging and varied stories from members in our Hopkinton community and beyond, please go to Common Ground Storytelling on HCAM hosted by Cheryl Perreault.

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