Hello everyone, happy National Poetry Month! Something cool that happened to me recently was having a poem of mine placed in the Emma Lazarus Archives at the American Jewish Historical Society. These archives focus on the Jewish-American experience, especially immigrants coming to the U.S. Some stories are about triumphs and others about the difficulties faced. History is a very important component in guiding us towards a better future for everyone. Keeping those records for future generations shows us that things we often think of as new or unique to our lifetimes, such as having to wear facemasks to stop the outbreak of a deadly disease, has been done previously.
Emma Lazarus was a Jewish-American woman who was very progressive for her time. She wrote socially conscious essays and one her best known works was “The New Colossus” which addressed the installation of the Statue of Liberty to welcome immigrants to the U.S. To celebrate this, the American Jewish Historical Society holds an annual contest for poems about the Statue of Liberty. The overall aim is to keep a conversation going about American identity and what it means to each of us. You do not have to be Jewish to enter, nor do you have to produce some sort of brainwashed flim-flam saying that everything is perfect here in the good old U.S.A. Poets choose what the statue of liberty means to them, My contribution, now in the Emma Lazarus Archives forever, is about working class America where all that glitters is not gold and many people experience discrimination while others get away with horrendous crimes against humanity.
HEY, LADY LIBERTY
Brian James Lewis
Hey Lady Liberty, why do you look so sad?
Is it because the truth of this country you watch over
Might not match the glorious and perfect façade
Spun by the history books passed out in schools
That seem to miss so much of every decade?
As a lady representing our country
Don’t you wish we had a female president?
Someone who would choose better school lunches
Find homes and good jobs for the homeless
Make it illegal to close the government
When it’s needed and we’re asking for help?
Hey Lady Liberty, we know freedom isn’t free
But the rich want to cut veteran’s benefits
Along with mental health care and self-respect
What do you think chances are for immigrants
Who come here searching for the American dream?
Thanks for reading! For more information about the American Jewish Historical Society go to: http://www.ajhs.org.