Thursday, April 19, 2007

Nikki Giovanni - Peace and Hope

maroon and orange day

Today has been called a National Day of Mourning for the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting earlier this week. We are asked to pray and to wear the colors of the school, maroon and orange. I wasn't thinking about those colors when I was getting dressed this morning, so when I got to school I looked through my knitting club yarn stash and pulled out the maroon and orange yarn. I braided a wrist band and I am wearing it today. I made a few extra for anyone who asks. When the young students ask about it I will say it is a prayer for peace and to support the students in Virginia who are working for peace and hope. I don't want to talk to the young ones about school violence because it is too scary and it is something their parents should be doing, but I want to spread a message of hope that people can come together, work for peace in the face of violence and support each other with prayers when tragedy strikes.

I was deeply touched to read Nikki Giovanni's words at the convocation at Virginia Tech on Tuesday. She is a writing teacher on the faculty there and I love her poetry. For my Friday Poetry submission today I want to quote some of what she said:
"The Hokier Nation embraces our own
with open heart and hands
to those who offer their hearts and minds.
We are strong and brave
and innocent and unafraid.
We are better than we think,
not quite what we want to be.
We are alive to the imagination
and the possibility we will continue to invent
the future through our blood and tears,
through all this sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail, we will prevail."

Weekly Reader has a blog. They are posting about Giovanni's poetry today too and inviting others to read her work and post comments on it. I offered a link to my haiku written on Tuesday after hearing the news. I invite you to post your response as well and share in the hope and comfort that poetry offers.

I believe the best response to violence is words of peace. Coming together gives us strength through hope.

Edited to add: 7Imp has a video of the speech and links to the transcript, thanks to Marcie at World of Words.

The Poetry round up is at Big A, little a.


Anonymous said...

Excellent. You and Eisha are psychic brain twins for both mentioning Giovanni's wonderful speech at the convocation.

Great post . . . here's to some comfort and some peace.

Vivian Mahoney said...

Beautiful. Thank you for this.

Third Mom said...

Thank you, thank you, Clouds. I know this has hit everyone hard, and I'm so glad to see many of my blog friends posting tributes and words of comfort.

Yes, we will prevail.

Jone said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing the Giovanni poem. Our school held a moment of silence yesterday. I liked your explanation for the little ones. I have been writing responses all week at my blog as well.

Anonymous said...

ALI G’S ENTIRE INTERVIEW WITH NIKKI G (this interview, like both Nikki G, wannabe poet, and Tupac, rap star, small-time criminal, and wannabe gansta, is a big pretense, although this particular pretense poses no danger)

ALI G -Booyakasha, chek i’ out. I is here wif my main man, Nikki G, my bro from Staines. How is you become poet? NIKKI G- We’re communicators, it’s in our blood. ALI G: Blood, West Side. Now sis, you, I mean, sorry you is my bro now, you is get some edumacation. You went to America, right? NIKKI G: I went to Fisk. ALI G: Tell me about how you is expelled for crack… NIKKI G: It wasn’t for smoking crack. I started at Fisk in 1960, was soon expelled, and later returned and graduated in 1968. I did enroll and quickly drop out of two graduate schools after that but I did complete that one degree, my bachelor’s degree. ALI G: Wha’eve. You is still my main man. Now you has Tupac Shukar tattoo, right? Can I see that? NIKKI G: Yes, I have said I would rather be with the street thugs than with the ones who complain about them. ALI G: Now is you believe Tupac’s criminal record make him a better rap artist? NIKKI G: Well, I don’t know about that, but… ALI G: I like that poem you wrote about nigger can you kill, can you stab a jew, can you draw blood, can you kill a honkie. Ain’t that a rap! NIKKI G: You’re talking about my poem “The True Import Of Present Dialogue, Black vs. Negro.” I wrote that a long time ago. ALI G: But can’t you make a rap out of that? You is get the whole crowd to stand up at Virginia Tech with that one. NIKKI G: No, that was my new poem We Are Virginia Tech. ALI G: Wha’eve. That was my one an’ only main man, Nikki G, my big bro and big time poet, big shout out for Nikki G from VT.