The first time I was in the Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids was 2005. I sat in one of the leather chairs in a standing-room only crowd of people listening to a coalition of scientists, business leaders, government agencies, mayors, and others report the Great Lakes ecosystem was at a tipping point. If steps were not taken immediately, damage to 20% of the world’s fresh surface water could be irreversible.
After that evening, I and many others in attendance, became advocates for the Great Lakes. Working with people and organizations across the region we created the political will necessary to get bipartisan legislation drafted, passed, and funded. Over a decade later, with the continued involvement of the people, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative remains a Congressional priority.
A year ago, while watching the horrific scenes of the unprovoked attack on Ukraine by Russia, the heartbreaking faces of families fleeing their homes, I experienced the same bubbling anger I did when I sat in the church that evening in 2005. Remembering the power of political will, I wrote the poem, “Standing United.”
On Friday, February 24th, the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, I returned to the Fountain Street Church. Thanks to the tireless efforts of editor GF Korreck, I joined seventeen of the poets who contributed to the anthology Busy Griefs, Raw Towns, a book whose proceeds benefit relief efforts in Ukraine. Standing at the podium, I recalled that when I wrote my poem, my hand was in a cast from my fingertips to my elbow. Today, both hands are functional and healthy, but the message the same. The future of Ukraine depends, in part, on the political will of the American people; on our willingness to make financial support a priority; to engage those who represent us in Congress. It is something we can actually “do” to make a difference in this war. It is the very thing the people of Ukraine are fighting to protect—a government of the people, by the people, for the people.
Thank you for sending an email to your representative, asking that Ukraine remain a priority. No details necessary. Just a reminder.
From briefcase to pen, paper and camera, one woman's journey to influence
how we care for the environment, our seniors, each other.
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The Ideal Gift
Tiny Treasures, a collection of wildflower photographs and poetic prose, available by contacting me.
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