All of the following speeches included here were prepared for the 2020 initiative called “First Sundays”. They have come from YEE workshops with Audrey Kindred.
The first two children’s writings: Marifer’s and Sidd’s were presented at September’s “First Sunday event” called “Being Earth” where kids were asked to write with their “compassionate pen” to express an “Earth-voice” of their choice, giving their “I” voice to an element of the earth in order to stand up for it. This prompt was inspired by the speech of young, indigenous, climate justice activist Autumn Peltier. They were performed through an education game construct designed by Dr. Jessie Kindred, called “Being Them.”
Ohm’s speech is from August 2’s “First Sunday” event called “Earth Citizen’s ~ Global Visions” shortly after the death of John Lewis.
And finally the last one by Miles was done In a workshop just before the pandemic, preparing for our first ever “First Sundays event” in March 1, 2020: “Hi Story: The Civil Rights Festival dedicated to Claudette Colvin”
Marifer Fernanda Torres-Sandoval
I, the water, once clear and pristine, demand justice done to my lakes, ponds, and seven seas. Foolish humans, don’t you see what you do to you when you hurt me?
I, the Earth, shall crack open and all shall shake, for you humans are careless creatures! You chop down trees and build fancy, useless buildings over me. My burrowing, tunneling friends — what will become of them? Those wonderful beings that live in me… If only you’d open your eyes and see the pain that you are causing me!
I am the air, once clean and bright. You need me to live, yet you ignore my plight. Your factories and your sprays are causing me to turn old and gray. One day this place will be unlivable if you continue.
I, Mother Nature struggle to calm my infuriated daughters, the Earth, the Air, and the Water. All once calm and clear! But if you don’t stop with your destruction, pollution, and careless construction, earthquakes, storms, and tsunamis you shall see, and with no mercy shall we act, until you do what we plea — what we have been asking for, for centuries! If you continue, there will be no human race, not a trace of that arrogant Homo Sapien face. All we ask for is for you to care, to love, and that animals you do not snare. That you do not make trophies of their skin and hair, and do not hunt as a sport but out of pure necessity. That you try to stop wars, with their bombing and noxious fumes. That you pick up plastic and buy what you will use, that you use what has been thrown away. It is a simple act, worth a thousand more, but we need more than a thousand deeds! We need to clean the air and shores and clear the seas. But most importantly of all, you people must pause your materialistic greed.
Siddharth S. Sussman
I am soil, a brown crumbly material that makes everything grow. I make everything grow by giving nutrients to plants and animals, including people. I also hold roots in place.
I suffer when people pollute me and dig in my soul causing erosion. When I’m polluted, it harms plants and animals. When I’m eroded, I can’t hold roots of plants.
So please take care of me because, if you don’t, it might affect you, too!
Earth Citizen John Lewis
An “earth citizen” is someone who makes the earth better for other people and themselves. John Lewis was a great man and earth citizen.
He was one of the youngest activists to join the Civil Rights movement. John Lewis once said that Emmet Till was his George Floyd. It made me feel sad because we sort of went through the same thing of having someone murdered because of the color of his skin. Because of Emmet Till, John Lewis began to march. He marched with Martin Luther King Jr. He stood up for Black Lives before Black Lives Matter was a movement. He was one of the brave people injured during the Bloody Sunday March. He did not stop fighting for freedom. He fought and fought and fought until his dying day. His legacy will live on.
I Stand on the Shoulders of Giants
I stand on the shoulders of giants. If it wasn’t for the Giants, I would not be able to live life like I do. At the top of the mountain I stand, living my life. But inside the mountain, all of the Giants of history stand together to make the mountain. They worked hard so I could have rights. There are many different mountains, but all together they make up the Human Rights Mountain Range.