I’ve learned
how to lead
as a woman,
as a person
of color,
as a mother

in this body
that was given to me
not free from harm,
holding memories
from before
I was born

I admire those
who can see
I am frustrated
I am angry

And I am hopeful
I know now
feeling is healing,
and my children
are the proof

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

This woman had been working in diversity, equity, and inclusion since the ‘90s. She was frustrated and angry that such little measurable progress had been made since then. “Lately I’ve been most concerned about efforts to quiet people’s voices and votes, which is tied to the situation we’re in. It’s all so disturbing,” she said. She shared that she was half Japanese-American, third generation, and that most people didn’t realize she was a person of color. When her parents married in 1960, interracial marriage was illegal in seventeen states. “I admire people who can see the opportunities amidst the despair–especially millennials. They are so much more accepting and inclusive than my generation. Seeing how my children react and treat people gives me so much hope,” she said.

Interviewee: Anonymous, Staff
Listener Poet: Jenny Hegland

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