A poem by the Public Voice Storytellers

I Come From, I Leave Behind, and I Will Bring Forward

I come from love, strong women, struggle, the ashes.
I come from creative women, deceit, racism, a family of African Americans and Chinese.
I come from a ho, royalty, the ghetto, molestation, my truth.
I come from a strong aunt, a queen of strength, a dad who really loved me.
I come from confusion, mystery and lies, privilege.
I come from physical and verbal abuse, a mom who tried but it became too hard.

I leave behind my past, the pain of not knowing my father, guilt, what she didn’t do.
I leave behind her, being told I would never be anything of any good to anyone.
I leave behind my past, corporal punishment, abuse, fear and worry.
I leave behind anger, resentment, other people’s opinions and expectations.
I leave behind my mother’s past that she tried to make my reality.
I leave behind mental illness, stress, ignorance.
I leave behind cheating and alcohol abuse, images of physical pain.

I will bring forward happiness.
I will bring forward being a good mother to my boys.
I will bring forward strength and wisdom, no negative stuff, my son to be proud of me.
I will bring forward a strong, young African American male filled with morals, ethics, love and fruitfulness who exudes happiness from the inside out.
I will bring forward hope.
I will bring forward loving kindness, my two loving, strong and thoughtful children.
I will bring forward leadership in my community, advocacy, positiveness, justice, harmony, peace.
I will bring forward footsteps in the sand, legacy, healing, understanding, positive thinking.
I will bring forward determination, perseverance, resiliency, community outreach.
I will bring forward magic and better days.

Group Picture.jpg

All of our Public Voice speakers are graduates of City Mission’s A Lift Up program (some from as long as 10 years ago!). A Lift Up is a voluntary, two year homelessness prevention program for single mothers at risk of losing their housing (most are in the eviction process upon entering the program). By providing intensive case management, mutual group support and limited financial assistance, 95% of the families remain housed and out of shelter.