“My Life and Diversity” by Debkanya Mitra

I
 
Without color, our world is bleak,
Cold, and unforgiving.
 
There would be no smiles,
Our identities would be tangled in a veil,
Which would suffocate our spirit.
 
But we have color,
And I can’t imagine my world, my community,
Ever lacking it.
 
II
 
Diversity is being different,
Not feeling different.
 
I am the face of diversity,
Though diversity has many different faces.
 
III
 
Maryland is where I was born,
And if anyone asked me where I was from,
I would say “Maryland.”
 
I don’t look like everyone else,
But that’s okay.
 
I’m really lucky,
I’ve gotten a chance to see my state…
 
IV
 
The Eastern Shore is magnificent,
With its towering waves,
That could drown all of us,
But it doesn’t.
 
I’ve stood on its sandy banks,
And felt its magnitude,
While the sun smiled at me.
 
The Chesapeake Bay is alive,
There is a touch of prosperity left,
We’re letting it thrive,
But we’ve hurt it in the past.
 
I remember its currents vividly,
My teacher told me that it was estuary,
A long while back.
 
Pollution had hurt the bay,
She had told us,
Pollution, and overfishing,
I was determined to fix it all that day,
I haven’t succeeded,
Not yet.
 
V
 
Baltimore is my golden city,
In its harbor,
The star-spangled banner flew,
And our national anthem was written.
 
VI
 
Baltimore was where Freddie Grey died in police custody.
I was driving through Baltimore that day.
I didn’t know.
 
VII
 
That city is America,
And in America,
We have good cops,
And we have good people,
And we don’t want to let racism come between us,
But sometimes we do.
 
Baltimore is a diverse city,
And Baltimore is rebuilding itself,
And we the people,
Are recognizing our flaws,
But we won’t forget.
 
VIII
 
I’ll remember,
But I’ll learn,
My America will learn.
 
I’ll sing,
I won’t stop singing.
 
IX
Baltimore’s not far away from our county,
But even if it was, no one would forget, right here.
 
Our county is built on acceptance,
And unity.
 
Because I’m different,
We’re all different.
 
X
 
When people look at me,
They don’t realize,
That I’ve never lived outside of Maryland.
 
I look Indian,
They see that,
I’m proud to be Indian, too.
 
XI
 
A memory I would like to share with everyone is Holi.
I celebrated it on the fields outside of our temple.
I am Hindu, and Holi is a festival celebrating spring.
 
We sprinkle colored powders on our heads,
We through them at our friends,
We laugh together.
 
XII
 
Another memory is the festival of lights,
Like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa,
Diwali is celebrated in the winter.
 
My family hangs up lights,
And we light candles,
In India we lit fireworks.
 
I was in first grade,
When I saw the skies light up.
 
XIII
 
I’m an actor, too,
I’m captivated by the world.
 
Every role, that I’ve taken on,
Has taught me something.
Recently, I acted in a Bengali Drama,
About change, social change.
 
I played the role,
Of someone originally against it.
 
XIV
 
At the end,
My character understands,
And holds up a sign,
Which reads, “We are Charlie,”
While another actor must hold up a sign,
That says, “We are Avijit.”
 
Charlie Hebdo,
Is a magazine in France,
That was targeted by terrorist attacks.
 
Avijit Roy,
Was a man in Bangladesh,
Who was killed for blogging his ideas.
 
My character realizes,
How we need to stand up for each other.
 
XV
 
I’ve seen a lot in my life,
And what I have seen,
Has enlightened me.
 
I don’t want to live in a world,
Where color has been forgotten.
 
I don’t want to live in a world,
Where color is what we fight over.
 
And to make this world that I want,
Enriched by color, but not torn apart,
I have to start talking louder.
 
I can’t leave everything for when I get older.
 
XVI
 
Let there be humanity, faith, and the prosperity of all.
 
XVII
 
Diversity is the unstoppable journey, that brought me right here.
 

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