By Noah Sandel (they/them)
strategic communications and media specialist, Hamilton County Community Foundation
A percentage of the population suffered more. And they have suffered more.
Me? Well, I’m mixed race and am often found frolicking beneath the LGBTQ+ umbrella. My passions find roots in my adolescence, experiences, family, and my evolving environments. What role do I really play? If I don’t understand, why do I find myself staring at a mirror every morning knowing full well that the day is another day to have to deal with who I am? I know this mirror isn’t new, but it proves that justified and irrational pain share a data plan.
My role at Hamilton County Community Foundation lets me share messages of the equity I never received. The core principles of place, race and identity are all ones I meet. Be it my color, my queerness, or my geographic and class locations, I promise I’ve seen You there. At Hamilton County, one of our initiatives is mental health. How fitting is it to help and give back to those of which I can relate?
I cannot be the voice for everybody. I can help though. Whether it be the forms of granting and funding to meeting and sharing, I can help. We can help at the foundation by seeing your potential, your needs, your business, your color, your identity, and your you – and loving them. Working with local and regional organizations focused on mental health, the impact can be so powerful. It gives credence to working each day past open hours. It lets the state of my mental health matter in a community setting.
To be honest, this prose poem isn’t one made for everybody to read because they’ll never comprehend, never reflect, never push discomfort into the vacancy left by normalcy…or they just have poetry disdain.
Anyway, let’s glance at this mirror together – I’ll get you added to the wireless plan afterward.
It helps knowing you’re “doing good”.
We drink from the Well of Perseverance
Risking our own dreams deferred
By the Fist of Oppression holding a Red Solo Cup
At your inoffensive Southern Pride parties.
I see you serve the sweetest Tea around
– We’re sorry for spilling it.
Why is it that White light disperses Color?
Just keep yourself in the shadows so we aren’t Visible.
Summers shine brightly just so Rainbows
Have the space to open Closet doors
With Pride in a Community of convenient Love
That suppresses us back in after turning calendars
With a “Shush, You had your Month”
– We’re sorry for planning an afterparty.
Why is it that you prefer closed-doors over roundtables?
Just keep pulling down your Blinds and call it Tolerance.
Have the freedom to spell I-G-N-O-R-A-N-C-E loudly
With calls for Learning vs. Lessons, as if sharing isn’t caring,
Or that somehow our existence threatens your child’s
Space to engage in your trickle-down guilt that lacks
A book update containing a new Glossary of terms:
– We’re sorry about Merriam’s “progressive wokeness”
Why is it that acronyms have you SEALing it?
Just keep quoting Urkel but know it’s “D-E-I do that?”
Meeting them in your middle somehow makes them wait
Longer in line just to say the cover went up or the ratio
Inside is a little off when the only things a little off are the diverting
Eyes as they’re set aside under Glass awnings in the Reign.
It’s odd that you grab a Stereo-type and call it a boombox.
– They’re sorry to have to crank it up and rip the knob off.
Why is it that you always parody the same show tune?
Just keep humming “Women & Asians & Mexicans, Oh My!”
It helps knowing you’re “doing good”.
It helps pushing the terms of race, place, and identity
Into a sphere rather than behind a white picket fence
Proving your American Dream doesn’t have to be the default.
It helps sharing your story and realizing the nods aren’t shakes
But are affirming ones that fill the room with the “I’ve been there”
Compassion and Empathy necessary to release the best possible sigh
That steps out as the Human stuck between IN- and -E of INHumane.
It helps awarding people who fight the worthy fight
Without stutter for the rights of sheltering and housing,
Welcoming the growth of diversity into our towns, cities, & state,
Granting superhumans – dubbed students – a path to Dreams elevated,
And making sure our shared health is as important as our self-health.
It helps to help.
It helps to help by doing what I know
I can do.
I can do it.