Christina Taylor Green on My Mind

by on January 9, 2011 · 20 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, From the Soul

Christina Taylor Green

I was a nine year old
about 63 and a half years ago,
growing up
around Speedway and Stone
in Tucson, Arizona,
affectionately known
as the Old Pueblo.
And in spite of bouts
with the likes of Old Jim Crow
it was
a good town
in which to grow,
as I learned how to
make my way around
its existing status quo,
finding the groove
that would allow
me to pursue
hopes and dreams
as I rose from childhood
to my teens,
to going out into
the big world
with its vast variety
of schemes
and themes
and things
that ring
I followed
my heart
and soul’s desires
and vowed to
always contribute to my town,
no matter where else
on earth I would land
and be found.
That, I feel, one
owes his or her hometown.

And although my thoughts
have always been
guided in a spirit of idealism
I’ve tried not to venture,
like some modern day Don Quixote
or Sancho Panza,
beyond realism,
confining my striving
to helping make my city
and, with it, my state,
merely better, not great
for what is great?
But, Lord, I never knew
that my city and state
would ever be in the state
it is in today.

A nine year old,
Christina Taylor Green,
was taken away
from us,
the living,
just yesterday,
January 8th,
not too very far
from where I grew up
and found my way.
From what I hear
she was very much like I was,
back in the 40’s.
Jim Crow, in his fullest form,
was not quite on the scene,
but she was trying to find a groove
that would allow her to pursue
hopes and dreams
in an atmosphere
of anger
directed towards
a somewhat newer brand
of “lesser thans,”
brown skinned immigrants,
an environment
that has given birth
to a fresher string
of schemes
and themes
and things
that ring
like it was with me,
was following
her heart
and soul’s desires
and had vowed
to contribute to her town,
her world.
This beautiful little girl,
had shown up at the wrong place,
at the wrong time,
out of an interest she had in politics
for some time.
She had just been elected to the student council
at her school
and had just wanted to be
where her Congresswoman
was meeting with her constituency.
She cared for those
who were less fortunate than she
happened to be.
But a man overflowing with
hatred in his heart shot
Christina Taylor Green down
many years before her time,
and now I, once a nine year old
member of my school’s student council
and one, who like her,
was keenly aware of the world’s inequalities,
will now continue
my quest for a more understanding world,
in an effort
to not let this precious girl
die in vain,
with her on my mind
until my breath is drawn
for the very last time –
in any way I can.
But first,
I’ll just cry
and send my love
to her family
as they mourn
their second born
and manage the strength
to carry on.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Ann Rosas January 10, 2011 at 12:05 am

Thank you, Ernie (Charles) for your comments. It shows that you are hurting just like all the rest of us are here in our beloved Tucson. Thank you for speaking out for so many of us.


Sherry Engberg January 10, 2011 at 6:23 am

Ernie, I knew you’d be thinking about little Christina.
Thanks for another fine piece of writing.
From another former 9 year old Student Council member.


Gwen Pierce January 10, 2011 at 8:11 am

My heart is breaking. Thanks for sharing your beautiful words.


Shirley Robinson Sprinkles January 10, 2011 at 8:24 am

Someone, somewhere, failed Jared Loughner. It’s such a shame that little Christina had to pay the cost with her life.


Guess What January 10, 2011 at 8:31 am

You know what’s going to make it worse is that Idiot Pastor Phelps from the Westboro Baptist Church, is planning to take his swine to Protest at the Funerals of the victims.


annagrace January 10, 2011 at 8:25 am

Beautiful and deeply moving Ernie. Thank you.


Guess What January 10, 2011 at 8:32 am

This is beautiful, the article


Willie J. Horton, Jr. January 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Hi Ernie:
Your article is very inspirational. Please share it with Christina Green’s Parents.
Thank you Ernie.
Willie Horton


Ernie McCray January 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Plan to.


Paul Carter January 10, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Hi Ernie. You are always the best at articulating the emotions felt by so many. I to was that 9 year old student council member at Sam Hughes School. As Sheriff Dupnik stated, we will continue to be victimized by those who inflame our country with hostile, inflammatory rhetoric. In the end we suffer, and our nation suffers. Thank you my friend for bringing comfort with words.


Ernie McCray January 10, 2011 at 7:39 pm

And thank you, Paul.


Leila Gimino January 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Your poem is lovely and incredibly moving. Thank you.
Leila Gimino
Tucson, Arizona


Ernie McCray January 11, 2011 at 10:00 pm

I had to get my feelings out in some fashion as my heart feels for people I love, Arizonans, the first human beings I ever knew in life. I know so many incredible people in Tucson and it weighs on me that they are looked on from afar as hateful and racist. And the university is doing so many wonderful things in the line of human relations. Hey, our Wildcat mantra: “Bear! Down!” is what it’s going to take to change the environment around. And I fully expect that things will be turned around.


Jon January 12, 2011 at 10:37 am

Well done, thoughtful and emotional Ernie. I have many friends and family in Tucson as well as Phoenix who I know to be incredibly loving, kind and rational people. They are all mourning this tragic event. We should be careful to always denounce hateful and divisive speech from politicians and extremists without vilifying the entire state citizenry.


Ernie McCray January 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I’m with you.


Ran January 12, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Thank you for sharing this Ernie, it was really moving and beautiful to read.


Debbie Sisco Rich January 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm

I have thought of you often as we have grieved and mourned and grappled with trying to understand this week. Your words are healing.


Ernie McCray January 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I’ve thought of you guys too, especially you, thinking of our days together as principal and super bright student (guess who that was?) and how we dealt with the real world in our learning experiences and how, in our endeavors, we dreamed of a better world, and worked towards it – and what we have today, I don’t think, mirrors what we were looking for, but I’m heartened that you, like me, are still at it, with you doing such wonderful things in Tucson with girls like Christina. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, huh? For her sake. Hey, love ya. Taking it hard over here, too. But the ceremony yesterday was uplifting to me. My thoughts on it will be here on the Rag real soon. Hang in there, or as we say in Wildcat land: “Bear! Down!”


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