In the wake of hate speech at OPRF where my son is a senior, I feel compelled to send this prose poem to Wednesday Journal. I’ve lived in Oak Park for 20 years now. My family chose this community because of its outward commitment to the ideals of fostering diversity, and we truly love this community. Ours is a biracial and interfaith family. Since the 2016 election, the levels of racism and micro-aggression directed at my person (on the street, in the grocery, in the gym, in the forest) have risen. I am a woman of color. That is one incarnation. I am also a human being.

The Healers

To you, who hate me because of my skin color, and hate my friends because of theirs, and hate my family because you think you can own the land and Mother Earth’s life force so you try to own what cannot be owned 

To you who scrawl graffiti and hide behind symbols of hate designed to make people like me afraid and make our children afraid and our wisdom-givers afraid

To you who think only one race and one religion should rule the world and that it should be you

A message

Some knowledge

A reminder

Your hate was never able to dominate the human capacity for love and compassion

We’ve learned to love each other across differences over the centuries

Our love is winning

Our love has won

All the multiracial interfaith lovin’ on the Earth families are connected now — you cannot break the bonds of our love

And don’t think for a moment I don’t see the fear in your eyes, fear that our massive, loving, interconnected peoples will become a majority and abuse you the way you abused our bodies, our rights, our ancestors.

We are not you

And if we stay on the path of fierce loving-kindness, revolutionary love, and justice

We won’t become your hate

Remember this when you are ill and diseased and time comes for your body as it comes for all of us — the doctor, the nurse, the chaplain, the person who handles your health insurance, the janitor you need to keep your hospital room clean will likely be one of us.

Mary Grace (M.G.) Bertulfo

Oak Park

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