Dorothy Smith – a Woman Who Epitomized the Rising of a People

by on February 23, 2022 · 0 comments

in Civil Rights, From the Soul, History, San Diego

Photo San Diego Unified School District

by Ernie McCray

Dorothy Smith,
a friend
and hero of mine
passed away the other day,
leaving me wishing,
in my sadness,
that she could have seen
“Still, We Rise,”
a poetry and jazz show
featuring Yolanda Franklin
a brilliant local thespian,
and I
reading our poems
and those of
Amanda Gorman
who mesmerized a nation
delivering her writings
at a president’s
inaugural event
and Maya Angelou
who told us why the caged bird sings
and Langston Hughes
whose rhymes
made our hearts
ring with sheer joy
or cry the blues…
with the Rob Thorsen Trio’s
mellow soulful instrumentations
coloring the show
with a funky hue…

Oh, I know,
Dorothy would have loved it
and basked in it
through and through
as she, a board member of the Common Ground Theatre,
a co-sponsor of this celebration of Black History,
the spirit of a people’s resiliency,
of a people overcoming
over and over again for centuries –
as she was
an educator
and a poet of renown;
a woman who, as the first African American woman
school board trustee in this town,
fought fervently
for equity for every learner,
believing that they all can achieve
no matter their color or plight or creed,
pursuing her quests for
social justice and human rights
with a soft warm sunny smile
that seemed to radiate
for miles.

As I said what I came to say
that day
I could feel Dorothy’s
sweet spirit and loving energy,
that she would have appreciated
our attempts
in our artistry
to remind humanity
to keep love and hope alive.

Because she truly embodied the soul and essence
of “Still, We Rise.”

Before our community’s very eyes.


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