By Larry Stromberg and Eli Goodrich
I was reminded of shared humanity, and this is no small thing when considering the pursuit of justice. But the day drew on, the sun now high in the sky somewhere outside of the thick and impenetrable walls. Inside, our teachers continued to encourage us to do the hard work, the introspective work, the world-changing work of re-envisioning justice. In small groups, we brainstormed creative ways to express a shared vision of what justice could look like. I found myself in a group with two writers, both of whom loved poetry; and with Trish Reger, Dean of the College of Health & Sciences, who spoke about her habit of daily journaling and how words had impacted her life. Our group decided to write a collaborative poem about compassion as an in-road to justice. Each line of our poem was written by a different individual, alternating between the real and the ideal. Together, despite our distinct life journeys, we formed a single vision, one that speaks truth to power and left in all of us a prophetic vision. Compassion Recognizing the humanity in everyone. “Single file, IDs out, what’s your number?” My son says, “Close your eyes and count to ten. Then come find where I’ve been hiding.” There is no hope, only dark death for those in the cage. A kinder justice is a patient justice. Impatience is like a caged lion, seeking to be fed, to have its mane stroked. Hope is life. Let light have its truth. Prejudgment equals death. An ear to listen—to hear what the other person is afraid to even speak.
The deaf stay in darkness where there is no real justice.
A vision and dream of mercy and love.
A nightmareof despair, every day the same.
May light shine as a refuge of the condemned.
Prejudice dims hope and destroys dreams.
Our lights shine brightest when we’re together.
You who have turned off the lights, cut off the electricity:
Who is it who made you not believe in candles?
ASCRA and RSO (9/27/19)