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Jan 22, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC—Standing on an illuminated stage this past snowy Sunday afternoon, Tambra Stevenson, creator of Postcards from Katrina, shares her poem, "Who Are We?" in front of a crowd of 20 art lovers as part of the first Anniversary of the Open Mic sessions, which began on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday at Busboys and Poets.

She shares her inspiration for writing the poem. “When I first learned about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, I could only think about the images of the people who were not on the television and web – the homeless, New Americans, other ethnic groups, blind, hearing impaired, and mentally ill.” And in January she meets an entrepreneur who shares a poem by German religious leader reflecting on the social responsibility of the German citizens to all people within the nation.

And in this latest piece, Stevenson awakens our consciousness and has us reflect on own humanity. True change in the world has involved some form of art expression imprinting an enduring declaration about our world. “Though I am proclaim myself to be a visual artist/illustrator capturing essence of key historical moments, I appreciate and value all forms of art expression.”

Seen as a spoken art from the heart, Stevenson uses poetry to preserve and document history. “Written art is an especially important from since it can be documented, disseminated, shared and help to preserve our history throughout the ages.” For example, just think about our accessibility to great works by Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Emerson, Alice Walker, and bell hooks.

Busboys and Poets is a DC-based restaurant, bookstore and gathering place for people who believe that social justice and peace are attainable goals.

The Busboys and Poets location enhances the community -- allowing us to bring together a diverse clientele reflective of the surrounding neighborhoods and the city at large. Busboys and Poets creates an environment where shared conversations over food and drink allow the progressive, artistic and literary communities to dialogue, educate and interact.
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Posted: Jan 22, 2007 10:38am
Jan 22, 2007

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. - Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

In reflection of those voices lost during and after Hurricane Katrina and Rita, Dr. King’s quote resonates still today of what we must do in the moment of crisis versus comfort. So I have a dream that one day that we help our neighbor regardless of their situation if we have the ability.

Yesterday I was inspired by a fellow traveler on my road to pursuing happyness. He hopped at out his seat dashed to the computer and said, ‘I have something to show you,’ after learning about the postcard project. And he shared with me a poem by
Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984). The writings were a response to the apathy versus the empathy and being of service to mankind by the German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

Who in America mirror the behavior of a ‘German intellectual?’ So from his poem, I created my own rendition.

Who Are ‘We’? (2007)

They came at last for the homeless,
And I didn’t speak up because I have a home.

They came at last for the poor,
And I didn’t speak up because I was well to do.

They came at last for the disabled,
And I didn’t speak up because I was able.

They came at last for the children,
And I didn’t speak up because I was no longer a child.

They came at last for the meek,
And I didn’t speak up because I was proud.

They came at last for the mis-educated,
And I didn’t speak up because I have an education.

They came at last for the unfaithful,
And I didn’t speak up because I was full of faith.

They came at last for the incarcerated,
And I didn’t speak up because I was free.

Then they at last came for me,
And by that time no one was around to speak for ‘we.’

So I ask who are we?

By Tambra Stevenson, Creator of Postcards from Katrina
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Posted: Jan 22, 2007 8:21am


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