Identity: An Open Letter to Bioneers (2016)

Following is a open letter written to the Bioneers community.  I read this open letter during my Live Poetic Scribe session on Sunday, October 25th to conclude conference proceedings at CU Boulder. 

This was initially inspired by a keynote lecture by Lisa Calderon of the Denver Community Reentry Project, who spoke on the prison industrial complex and over-incarceration of people of color and poor people.  She later sat on a panel in which she challenged us all to envision a world in which there are no prisons. 

[Bioneers is a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. ]

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“Welcome Signs” (Biennial of the Americas)

By Molina Speaks

(This poem was scribed to reflect a conversation about “International Arts Presenting”.  Molina was commissioned as the live poetic scribe of the Biennial of the Americas 2015.)

Welcome Signs

All themes are International
The times, International
The Now is changing ever constant out loud

Question: Are we more honest with ourselves
Now?

Who fits here?
Who belongs?

The “Welcome” insignia says “Open”.  So
how do we make our Cultural Arts and Events signs feel
Real?

(what is an “insignia”???)

She said on the panel she was the only gringa
working con los Chicanos en el Teatro
and she spoke of feelings

Speaking of a feeling
in times of cold data
In walks the dusty foot philosopher
appearing with few words   stuttering out   interrupting
He questions aloud his place in this space, His
right to be
Here,
his wooly hair,
his dark curious eyes,
white clothes smudged with street signs
Does he see a lack of Color?
Or the color of Class?

(We are all “going Green”)  

“This is a diverse space”
“We are All welcome”
Echoes
Affirmations
Reverberations

He is unconvinced, solemnly
he contemplates his existence here

He is not an internationally presenting Black Artist
not Black Violin
not an Award-Winning Vegan Eco-Hip-Hop Legend in the Making
nor rolling deep with a well-marketed Afro-Brazilian dance troupe

He is just a man, a young weathered African dream
wandering through American wilderness
searching for truth in cultural quotes on white walls,
searching for truth in a panel or a workshop or a Ted Talk
or a cultural cakewalk…
maybe a poet who can relate
to His Story?

History, you are eclipsing now
as Confederate flags are lowered
beneath the surface
as we surge ahead,
as times change and we become
more honest about our designs
and the colors
on our beautiful Welcome signs

We are all trying
We are all doing better
And yes we are sincere

We still must face our challenges
and our challengers
as we build the new
Now

America.

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Boston Arts Academy

Master Artist Class in public performance art by Molina Speaks

Boston Arts Academy, mixed majors, September 2013.

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Boston Arts Academy is a laboratory and a beacon for artistic and academic innovation. Boston Arts Academy prepares a diverse community of aspiring artist-scholars to be successful in their college or professional careers and to be engaged members of a democratic society.

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