I will sing for people who might not sing for me.
I will sing for people who are not my family.
I will sing honor songs for the unfamiliar and new.
I will visit a different church and pray in a different pew.
I will silently sit and carefully listen to new stories
About other people’s tragedies and glories.
I will not assume my pain and joy are better.
I will not claim my people invented gravity or weather.
And, oh, I know I will still feel my rage and rage and rage
But I won’t act like I’m the only person onstage.
I am one more citizen marching against hatred.
Alone, we are defenseless. Collected, we are sacred.
Excerpted from “Hymn” by Sherman Alexie.
- Update. According to NPR, Sherman Alexie “issued a statement admitting he ‘has harmed’ others, after rumors and allegations began to circulate about sexual harassment.” I don’t know how we deal with situations like this. We can’t ignore, yet do we wipe their work from the public space? Maybe. At least we provide an asterisk, a footnote. Maybe you don’t go read the whole poem. At least now, it’s your choice. ↩