Poetry at a Budget Meeting of San Diego School Board Members

by on June 30, 2015 · 4 comments

in California, Culture, Education, From the Soul, History, San Diego


By Ernie McCray

I had the honor of spending a day with a room full of progressive School Board Members from around San Diego County.

I wasn’t so sure, at first, as the subject was: Budgets.

Whenever I got my budget sheets at my schools, it might as well have been expressed in hieroglyphics – I just can’t relate to language like “Total Available Funds minus Total Outgo.” Gives me vertigo.

I was there, though, to kick things off. And in doing that I shared three poems and one went like this:

Our schools now,
at this stage
of a rapidly aging New Century,
are about to introduce
our kids
to the realm of Ethnic Studies.
Sure does
make sense to me
as the world is
socially and culturally
of a variety
of ethnicities
and nationalities
and diversities
and proclivities
and sensitivities

Seems, rational that
who we all are
would be worthy of being studied,
deserving of
a deep delving into,
an unrooting of narratives,
spread far and wide
and deep and high
and mutitudes of

Everybody should get their due…

It’s all about perspectives.
Everybody has one.

All Earth People have a song
that must be sung,
an adventure
that must be told
in all its nuances
and tempos
and tones;
in all its drama,
its sadnesses
and losses
and trials
and tribulations,
some long ago overcome,
some yet
to be overcome.

Within Ethnic Studies
there lies
an opportunity
for fellow human beings
to hear and feel
each other’s stories,
to see deeply
into each other’s humanity:
who we/they are
where we’ve/they’ve been,
our loving moments,
our highs,
our lows,
our moments of sin.

Ethnic Studies
holds the key
to human understanding
on a scale more sweeping
than any mortal
on this planet
has ever seen.

Ethnic Studies
is all of us
and it can do all the just claimed
if we embrace it and allow it to.
That goes for the poet
and everybody he’s talking to.

Oh, and I could tell the way everybody listened that “budget-wise” these people would find ways in their complicated budgets to support learning that’s relevant to everyone’s needs – no matter where they fall in our economy, no matter their ethnicity.

I drove home with a smile. Such a nice day.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rufus July 1, 2015 at 5:54 am

Ethnic studies wont help you earn a living. Ethnic studies wont buy groceries or pay rent.

We should respect and appreciate each others differences, but ethnic studies is not the best use of a high school student’s time in the classroom.


Frank Gormlie July 1, 2015 at 10:07 am

Oh, and we’ve done so well all these years, haven’t we, without the study of ethnicities?


Frank Gormlie July 1, 2015 at 10:07 am

That must be Gregg Robinson’s mug on the right side of the photo.


Ernie McCray July 1, 2015 at 10:17 am

That is indeed Gregg Robinson.


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