There are places in this world where seldom a day goes by 

where someone doesn’t weep.

Where the night rings out in gunshots…

and no one 


soundly sleeps.


Where, if you look and listen closely 

no children can be found

because where they used to play and run and laugh 

is now a battleground.


There are people in this world…

too many to count its sad to say

Who, if they don’t hear a bomb go off in 24 hours…

they say it’s a good day.


There are people living in constant fear…

who only want that fear to cease

who have given up everything they own 

for a chance to live in peace.


Who have been forced to leave their land…

where their neighborhoods and schools were burned

leaving the only home they’ve ever known…

never knowing if they’ll return.


Who go on a harrowing journey…

wondering will they live…

will they be sold…

and if they survive this arduous odyssey…

not knowing what their future holds.


Have you ever thought about their plight?

How their life has been forcibly redesigned….

How whatever joy they feel at being given a new life

Is mixed with sadness for the life they left behind? 


There are people in the world…

who only want a chance to grow 

to learn

and to be free


and women 

and children….

human beings…

like you and me.


There are other human beings who for whatever reason, 



or fear

refuse to acknowledge these other humans…

who scream…

You are not welcome here!


Who ignore their pleas for help, 

their heartache 

and their pain…

which makes wonder 

when did being human…


become so inhumane?

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We see pictures of hungry, sad and poor people in the world…

and we question…how can this be?

We wait and hope someone will help them

perhaps their friends or family…


After all…If a member of our family or a friend was hungry

we would gladly share our food.

If their heart was broken or they were sad…

we would try to soothe their mood.


If a member of our family or a friend needed money

we would find a way to share

If they needed shoes to cover their feet…

we would gladly give them a pair.


If a member of our family or a friend had no home

we would try to ease their pain.
We would want to keep them safe and warm

we would offer them shelter from the rain. 


But…if we believe everyone is our brother or our sister

then doesn’t that make everyone we see…

every person in the world

a member of our family?


So instead of questioning how can this be

and waiting for someone else to help the hungry, sad and poor

Shouldn’t the more appropriate question be


What are we waiting for?

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This is a story mixed with sadness…a story of inhumanity

It’s story mixed with madness…a story of brutality


It’s a story of people who didn’t look like US

who could not understand

how we wanted them to go away

how we wanted them off of ‘our’ land..


How we were willing to push them aside

to our own honor and dignity betray..

How we were willing to turn our backs…

and force them to go away.


How we were willing to allow their children

to be stripped from their parents’ arms.

How we were willing in the name of America

to cause such lasting harm….


Of course I’m taking about Native Americans and American Japanese

who endured America’s fear and bigotry and atrocities such as these…


But this all happened long ago, you say!

Give America a break!

We are a different country now!

We have learned from our mistakes! 


That was a less civilized…less enlightened America, you say

We have changed a lot since then.

There’s no way in America today…


this could ever happen again!

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The true measure of the greatness of a person, 

a town, 

a city, 

a country…

a people

is not in the fortunes we amass…

not in caring solely about ourselves





we will find…

before we are deceased…

the true measure of the greatness of a person

a town,

a city,

a country,

a people…

is in how we treat those less fortunate than us…


those who have the least.


Gandhi was a kind, nonviolent man whose wisdom is widespread…

When asked what he thought about Western Civilization

“I think it would be a good idea.” he said.


A civilization that treated all people with tenderness, 

with love and with affection

that accepted everyone in life 

without reservations or exceptions.


A civilization filled with tolerance, 

with mercy and charity…

A civilization where people work together…

where everyone was free…


As Gandhi said it is a good idea…

a civilization that is kindhearted…

and if we are going to create one…


perhaps we should get started.

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She knew her daughter’s heart was pure 

and that compassion she’d never lack

when the leaves began falling from the trees 


and she tried to put them back.

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They heard her before they saw her…sitting deserted in the sand.

a solitary woman…sobbing into her hands.


Her head was bowed, her shoulders slumped…her legs were intertwined…

The oceans waves had reached her knees…but she didn’t seem to mind.


They wondered if they should walk to her or should they turn and go…

knowing sometimes one has to be alone to allow their tears to flow…


I’ve often wished that tears were colored coded…so when they fall like rain

we could tell if they were happy tears…tears of sorrow…tears of pain.


For if the color of her tears could make her feeling known

they could see if she wanted company…or to be left alone.


She looked up, trying to smile at them as teardrops filled her eyes

“I love to come to the ocean,” she said…”whenever I need to cry.”


“Whenever I am feeling sad…it’s the one place I can be

where every tear that leaves my eyes will fall into the sea.”


“Where my tears once they hit the ocean…immediately blend in

so you can’t tell where the ocean ends and where my tears begin.”


They sat on either side of her…they never said a word

they listened to her crying…to the ocean…to the birds…


And as the tide kept gently rising…amid her muffled groans

they knew they had to stay with her…so she would not be alone.


So three people now sat in the sand…two waiting patiently


for the other’s tears to finish raining…and melt into the sea.

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Soon after World War 2 was weathered

The United Nations got together…

and after hearing of the peoples plight

created a declaration…of human rights.


Appalled at all the lives we lost

and sickened by the Holocaust

The UN set about decreeing

A set of rights for human beings.


Every person has these rights they declared

In any location…anywhere.

Every human…from their inception

Every human…without exception.


Every human is endowed they said

with reason, a conscience and should use their head

and every person everywhere should

act in the spirit of brotherhood.


Since the UN declaration 70 years ago

We have made progress…but much too slow.

We have not learned from our mistakes

and now our existence is at stake!


We must treat each person with dignity

each as a member of our family.

For when we become kind humans we will find

one world…one family…one humankind.


Or 70 years from now

If we don’t ensure everyone’s human rights…somehow…

If we continue to live in a world where human rights are bereft…


there won’t be any humans left.


I wonder…


What would happen if, as a country,

our hearts were front and center…

if our door was always open 

to anyone who wants to enter?


What would happen if we didn’t wait for others

if we did not delay

being compassionate and accepting

but instead…we lead the way?


I wonder…


What would happen if we could see the light in everyone we meet?

What kind of wonderful world would this be…

if we treated everyone

as if that light….


is all that we could see?

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