The below poem was read by Coco Harmon at the 15-year anniversary celebration for the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center. You can watch it online here thanks to UPTV.
Have you been there?
You know, that moment when your legs go numb
as if they’ve finally given up
finally had enough
But, some how you are still moving
You scan your surroundings in a search to locate the source
Not realizing that it serves as the main function of your very own core
Do you remember the first time you experienced resilience?
The way it felt when it squeezed it’s way out of the piles of pain, pity and doubt
And introduced itself as the face of a fierce forever?
You wondered where you could have possibly gotten the access to such a anomaly
See, normally… we end up at the mercy of defeat because we cannot bear to go on
So we give in to complacency
Rejecting the opportunity to be considered valiant
We accept becoming stagnant
But not this time
You see, I remember my first date with irrepressibility
It could not wait to get into me
Because it saw my potential of becoming unending in my calling
It mixed the hurts of never being heard
And the elation of having a masterpiece as your creation
And stirred them into a stew to feed the same souls that came out to support it.
It was you
The same people in these chairs today that held me up
When my hopes had gave in and went away
We’ve worked through the hurt and pains
that plague and stain
every generation of this communal location
It was you who I marched with in the name of unity
When I didn’t even have myself together
It was you who understood my rage
And saw that if given the right platform
I could express it in an impactful and eloquent way
So then YOU built the stage
Besides my mother and father, you were my first example of resilience
Chambana, we’ve been through a lot of Paign
But still we have endless initiatives to try to make this a better place
We’ve created a type of cycle
where we take turns reviving the hope that keeps us alive and striving
When I look at the hurricane taking place in my heart
The tsunami disturbing my soul
And the blizzard freezing the thoughts in my brain
I realize that what I’ve learned right here—
In the #1 transit town of Illinois—is one of the only reasons why I can still have joy
You taught me that the best has yet to come
Because we are still creating it
Collette Harmon, a Unit 4 alum and UIUC college student, is dedicated to the task of informing others of the importance of expression. Using empathy, artistry and her access to a multitude of emotions, she writes and performs ‘pieces’ of her heart in and around the CU community and campus. She has been an active poet and performer since she was 12 yrs old.