City Alive, the Poem About our Beginnings


(gentle music) – There’s a city inside
of me where table linens and extra place settings
constitute a meeting. Where the open invitations
have already been sent and the table extenders are always met with open arms and extra chairs. – What inspired me to ask
Hakim to write this poem is that I couldn’t even
imagine articulating in a creative way that
encompassed all the work we had done and are going to do, in some kind of narrative. – Where the boardroom is in the kitchen, where people, politics, profit and promise all sit around the same dining room table where everyone waits for everyone else to get served before they eat. – And when I thought about
all the work and effort people put in, the different challenges we were trying to tackle, focusing on capital innovation,
public-sector innovation, systems change, community engagement, racial equity, how do you narrate that? How do you capture that? – Our impact, collective. Our coalitions, collateral. Where people feel part of something, where everyone is part
owner in the success and trial and error is just another part of the rent. Where we face tough
problems, but we’re tougher. – And I realized that
the only way to do it and do it justice was through poetry. – Where the right answer is
always asking the right question and the only thing we fix is our ears. – It’s the testament to
what we’re working to, it’s the fabric that weaves us together, it’s our love letter to ourselves, it’s the dreams we tell our children, it’s where we stand our sacred grateful ground to advocate on what is right, to not accept the status quo, and to change where we can so
that all people can prosper. – There is no turn-down
service for linens, banks, nor bright ideas. Where everyone at this table
would give their right arm to be the city that they
believe we could be. With all those arms, we will paste, piece and parcel together the most beautiful creature
the world has ever known. There’s a city inside me and it’s alive. – And so the poem, on
especially tough days, reminds me and provides
me with inspiration, and on great days, it
helps me to celebrate.

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