As the New Year approaches, I, like most people am reflecting back on all that has happened in 2010. Personally, it has been one great year overall. My family and I are healthy; no one was seriously affected by the real estate disaster or the infamous Madoff scandal that caused the biggest U.S. economic calamity since the Great Depression, I met new friends, was able to do things that I’ve never done before, and have a new overwhelming desire to give back.
The holidays always make me think of those less fortunate, those without families, those who have lost their jobs, and those who have lost their homes. That’s why in today’s fiscal environment, it’s more important than ever to give back.
Last week, I was able to attend a Poetry/Toy Drive event sponsored by the “grassroots” organization known as Capicu. The organization founded in 2007 describes itself as “a grassroots multicultural producer of poetry and performing arts events in New York City, formed using the philosophies of the most progressive intellectual and artistic movements of the last century in New York City”. The Poetry showcase which takes place once a month comes to life in my childhood neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn at the Notice Lounge. So needless to say, I felt right at home.
From the moment that I arrived at Notice Lounge, I was immediately overwhelmed by the amount of love in the room. I was greeted by the sweet smell of arroz con gandules, pernil, and baked chicken. Was this a toy drive? Because it didn’t feel like it to me. It was reminiscent of the parties I used to attend as a child at my abuelo’s house, family coming together on Noche Buena drinking, eating, and being merry. But this wasn’t Christmas Eve and it wasn’t my grandfather’s house. It was a room full of friends and strangers alike coming together to listen to some good poetry and to help give some child a Merry Christmas.
To say that the place was packed would be an understatement. Those lucky enough to arrive early were able to get a seat, while others were content standing or found a spot on the floor. I was one of the lucky ones to snatch up a seat and I even was brave enough to recite a piece that I wrote. It was my first time ever performing any of my poetry in public but I was so glad that I did. The crowd was amazing, warm, and supportive. It was a very liberating experience for me. It was also touching to see so many people, Latinos and others, collaborate for such a wonderful event.
The toys would be sent to Bushwick United Head Start (I believe today is when they were being given out) to give children who would have otherwise not received one, a present. I only wish that I could be there to see the looks on their faces as they open their gifts. Children are so innocent and they all should have a Merry Christmas. Special recognition should be given to George “Urban Jibaro” Torres, Papo “Swiggity” Santiago, Notice Lounge, and all who made the event possible. They should be commended for a job well done. While it is great to eat, drink, and party it’s even more important to put a smile on someone’s face. Thank you for inspiring me and keep up the great work.