This week my school hosted a multi-cultural celebration assembly / History’s Refugee
We had ten different performances, including seven amazing dances performed by different cultures of our school! This included the Southeast Asian dances, Pilipino dance, and the Vietnamese hat and fan dance. I was a part of the hat and fan dance, and I can testify that all the students made the choreography and worked for months preparing.
This assembly is the most exciting and anticipated assembly of the year, which fills me with joy. I think a lot of times, some students can feel scared sharing their culture, traditions, foods, practices, etc. that are not largely accepted by the majority of students.
During this assembly, there were standing ovations, cheers, and claps from the entire student body. We were all celebrating the beauty of diversity. I hope that every school learns to shine a light on the importance of sharing culture and identity.
In addition to the dance, I closed the hour-long celebration with two spoken word poetry pieces. The one I am about to share with you comes from the heart, a piece that I cherish and think represents the spirit of the celebration.
By Elisabeth Dellit
I am saying these words on behalf of someone who has outlined your birth and will pencil in remarks of your death
These are the words of history, though she cannot be here today to speak with you. She is away in the past, writing herself into the footnotes of a mother’s child
I am a mother’s child. I am the granddaughter of refugees who can trace the word pain better than I will ever be able to write it
I write with respect. I write their story across my skin and let the pencil lead leave behind an iridescent silver.
I am the silver lining of adying country
My grandfather rises with the moon and screams with the longevity of a star long past its death. He is a man of war. A man who can not find forgiveness under his eyelids when he sleeps so he must wake my grandmother
It was my grandmother who held the relentless belief that stable ground can be carved into restlessness and her children had the reverence to believe her. She kissed the sand of the Philippines when God delivered her
Faith has always charted the constellations that traveled above my grandparent’s heads as they stitched their way through a pocket of war. As they left a country that slaughtered their brothers and sisters. They left a place which carted away the remains of war to the next generation
I am the next generation. I have tears in my eyes that fell from that of my grandmother’s. I have felt her stories burrow under my skin as if taking a long and restful nap
As if these stories are finally safe in my blood and on my tongue
And it is this tongue that takes the broken English of its family and creates a broken narrative. Because history is made from the broken pieces of what we all leave behind
This is the history that I am trying to speak and the history
I am grateful to be.
Elisabeth Dellit is a 10th Grader at Jesuit High School. She enjoys reading, writing creative stories, baking/cooking and participating in her school’s drama program.