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Wednesday, June 18, 2008 01:42 am

Unity for the community

Area students call for racial understanding in poetry and art

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SCULPTURE BY ERIN BURNESON OF WILLIAMSVILLE HIGH SCHOOL
Untitled Document The wonderful thing about young people is that they come unformed and optimistic, lacking the baggage that seems to burden older folks. It’s not that they don’t see things; they often see things more clearly than the rest of us. For several years, organizers of the annual Race Unity Rally have leaned on the children of the Springfield area to give a voice to a vision of how we could be as a community. Their annual poetry, essay, and art contest attracts entries from a dozens of students; for the past four years, Illinois Times has published some of the winning entries to recognize their contribution. This year’s Race Unity Rally, held June 1 at the Capitol, was sponsored by the Greater Springfield Baha’i Community, the Frontiers International Club of Springfield, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation, the Spirit Matters writing group, Regions Bank, Lincoln Library, the First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, and Illinois Times. The event marked the centennial observance of the 1908 Springfield race riot, which led to the organization of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
LIKE STARS IN HEAVEN By ShaDise Baker
Fourth grade, Matheny-Withrow Elementary School
Like stars in heaven, we work together. Twinkling like diamonds and flying like feathers,
  we work together forever.

We fight for unity. Tell racism goodbye, And never to return until it dies.
Our unity we explore until freedom unfolds. It’s my freedom, it’s yours, so let it soar.
Why are you sad? You should be happy inside and out. So let it sprout.
Let freedom ring! Think like Dr. King!
People who are young and old, don’t you feel
  good inside?
Because we are powerful if we work together Like stars in heaven.

WE PRAY TOGETHER AND STAY TOGETHER By Pearl Painer-Hoover
Fourth grade, Matheny-Withrow
Elementary School

We always stick together like a bird in a nest Running a race for unity and not stopping for a rest.
Always stick together like green on grass. Be proud of yourself and head of your class.
Always protect each other like a pillow and a blanket, Then when troubles come, you can make it.
Always respect everyone who lives in a community By helping each other feel good in yourself and unity.
Always stick together like your dreams in your sleep, Pray for each other that unity can keep.

THE COMMUNITY UNITY By Tamia Williams
Fourth grade, Matheny-Withrow
Elementary School

The people in my neighborhood stick together    like a bird in a flock. We will always be there for each other ticking    like hands on a clock.
We can be, and we can see, all the community keeping hope alive for the Race to Unity.
In my community we can always see things like hugs and kisses that unity brings.
In my community we can come together and we can see hearts, minds, hands racing to unity.

RACE UNITY POEM By Sam Rogers
Fifth grade, St. Agnes School
Red, white, black, or yellow could be a lady, could be a fellow, might live in India, Africa too, Even in the U.S.A., our red, white, and blue! All of us are equal in God’s special mind Whether one is deaf, or even if blind, children and parents, adults and teens, all are the same but unique by their genes. That people are different, no one denies, but we all are the same in God’s eyes.

GUIDANCE By Albert Perlman Fifth grade, Blessed Sacrament School
My father tells me to do many things. Go, have fun So that you will have a happy childhood.
Go, be kind So that you will be in God’s heart.
Go, be responsible So that you will not let anyone down.
Go, pay attention in school So that you will be successful.
Go, show your brothers friendship So that all races will be united.

FAMILY By Jordan Hawks
Fifth grade, St. Agnes School
We are all one family under the same sun.
We all matter to God
even when our spirits are low.
We are all one family under the same sun.
Color doesn’t matter
even when somebody else thinks so.
We are all one family under the same sun.
We should have race unity
because each of us are important.
We are all one family under the same sun.
If you are shorter or fatter
it doesn’t matter because
We are all one family under the same sun.
We are all one huge family
No matter what size, race, religion, etc.
We are all one family under the same sun.


UNTITLED ESSAY By Kevin Jacob Seventh grade, St. Agnes School
The human soul has no color. We are all created in God’s image. As God is colorless, our souls are colorless too. I think the ultimate realization of racial unity will only come when every human soul looks at every other human soul as a brother or sister created in the likeness of God. When you judge someone by the color of his or her skin, you are robbing yourself of the chance of having a good friend. I feel an inner realization of the dignity of every human soul is the ultimate answer for racial unity. [ . . . ]
Let every change start from inside. Let every stronghold of bias and prejudice give way to dignity, integrity, and liberty. When such a day happens, this will show how much we have learned and grown from the mistakes of the past.

THE POWER TO MOVE
MOUNTAINS THROUGH
RACIAL UNITY By Nehemiah Ankoor Tenth grade, Southeast High School
It would be a grave dishonor to take for granted the enormous efforts our passionate predecessors have made for equality. Lincoln and King’s dreams of all of God’s children holding hands should be commemorated with the utmost love and appreciation. The finest gratitude one can offer. We shall honor all people with this similar vision by first accepting all people. I accept you as you are because you are God’s child. It doesn’t matter if there’s melanin in your skin. It doesn’t matter where you are from or where you’re going. Your eye color and hair texture don’t matter either. All I see is a person who wants love, respect, and understanding just as much as I do. You can have this fundamental wish.
Look at the big picture, I say to you. I am you. You are me. An injustice against you is an injustice against me. I will fight for you my brother, my sister. I send you my love, my admiration, my support, and my optimism for a bright future. Many believed that the day for racial unity would never come between different groups in America. The goal seemed so “far off.” I have proven them wrong! I am the child of a swarthy father and a pale mother. Nonetheless, I am a beautiful child of God. I know, with an unwavering faith and optimism, that anyone can move mountains. I know with this same faith and optimism, society will soon realize we are all simple Homo sapiens living together on the same lush, wondrous earth. Once equality and understanding is obtained, mankind will have the efficiency to solve all dilemmas. Our actions and thoughts will move mountains. And the Universe will listen to us accordingly and make the ground beneath the mountains ice and allow the mountains to slide effortlessly. This is my steadfast vision!
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