Ending Speech

Ending Speech

April 4, 2004

I read this piece last night.
It it traditional at Internation Banquets for seniors to get up and say a few words; so I wrote this as halfway a speech of thanks & encouragement, and halfway a poem.

I’m putting it up because several people said they’d like copies of this and the Iiyuw Waas poem as well, so I’m going to be sending them links.

God has brought me before you once again
It’s as if I’ve walked into a warm room
From the cold outside, and the glow alights on
My skin doesn’t matter for once
In my whole entire life
And it brings tears to my eyes

Keep it in context for a moment
For where I come from, a man
Is not one who holds back tears
But knows when it is appropriate to cry

And so I weep.
Tears of joy and of sorrow
Joy because I have seen you grow
I lived through your most trying times
And I have seen promised tomorrows
Become today

And of sorrow.

Sorrow because this season is waning
The golden glow that I knew is leaving me
This stage of my life has come to an end
And now I have to leave

I have watched those before me leave
I have watched how their last year buries them
In work, they detract from you
And they are alone
And I feared that
Because for the first time
I was truly with friends.

I did not want this year to come
And yet now I see
I will not leave you
I have you with me
In memories

You will remember me as the wild and the crazy
Or as the soft and poetic
Or as the fighter for injustice
Or as the artist and designer
Or as the musician and the speaker
I was all of these, and more. But not without you.

I will remember dances in the living room, stomping our feet and shaking our bodies to the dances not of our culture but of that room. Of that time. Of that moment. Of that beat.
I will remember deep talks and long walks and shoulders wet and salty. Of people I have somehow been able to comfort, and of those who comforted me.
I will remember movies watched late, snuggled in blankets, riveted to the screens.
I will remember great feasts of spicy and exotic foods, caressing and exciting the taste buds, spurring smiling faces and gleeful jokes.
I will remember arguments about race, culture, travel, politics and sex. In that place we were free to talk with understanding.
I will remember spiritual uplifting, and profound thought in learning who God was and how we should be around him.
Of trials and struggles, and of celebration and joy.

These I will keep with me.
I have learned much here.
I have learned not only that people can be friends with me
But also how to be a friend
I learned no everyone can be friends with you
Even though you may now why
I learned some will always be you friend
Even though you may not know why
And these lessons
I carry with me

Who are you?
You are ISA/MK
You are Diversity on this campus
You are the minority that attracts the good of this college
You are the feather in the cap.

But you are more.
You are a community
You are the proof that people can unite under the banner of love
While loosing none of their culture
You are the proof that you can make it anywhere
And not forsake the values your grew up with
You are the glue that holds the campus together
You are the salt and the light, as well as the spice and the glow
You may have light, but to truly see and feel welcome, you need a glow
And You may have salt, but to truly get flavor, you need spice

You are more than even you can imagine
And so God has brought me before you again.
I am proof you can do it.
I am proof you can make a difference
I am proof you can survive
I am proof you can love.

And it because of you I am proof.

Thank you.

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