Image credit: Fannypack
Music by DJ Icewater

It is always about the Collective.
a live scribe poetic reflection by Molina Speaks
as informed by the 2022-23 Cohort of AJL Grantees


It is always about the Collective.
Beautiful black midnights, pale blue skies, red, brown and green earths.

Change the viewscape through a novel approach.
Trust of community, make that a less novel approach.
Make the form of this process the norm in philanthropy.
Demand trust and cultivate trust in turn.
Ask more from the money and the power.
Be the money and the power. Dream.
Dream for you, Dream for us. Change the view.
Close the gaps between theory and practice.
Practice, and lead us through the worlds of possibilities.

Get us over. Get us through.
Get us over the jumping of hoops.
Get us through the recycling of problems.
Believe that innovation will redistribute the power and wealth.
Don’t apologize for your tears. Don’t apologize for your love.
Don’t apologize for the way you appear, here.
Walk with the ancestors and the winds. That is power.

Walk into the rooms of the universe and affirm yourself.
Affirm yourself, for even perceived allies may try to tear you from yourself.
Be the child that never learned to think negatively about yourself.
That is not the story for most of us in these systems. Heal that child within.
For if you heal yourself, you heal the ancestors, past and future.
Practice storytelling. Lead yourself first. Grow resilience. Plant new seeds.
Make new friends and form new alliances in the weeds.
Show up like the child who hasn’t yet learned to filter out what’s good.
Tell them that people usually have a good comment about you.
And if they don’t, they should.
And if they won’t, so be it.
Keep it moving. Push the systems. Bump the systems.
Yebo, turn it up! Inform the systems, and transform.
Keep it moving, and transform yourself.
Because when you change, the systems change.

Affirm the flowers and the wealth of your communities.
All the ways that wealth can be imagined.
For pessimism is the tool that breaks us.
Optimism through action and imagination can remake us.
Make us whole, intergenerational Earth.
For it is not about us as individuals.

The north star. The east star. The west star. The south star.
The center: It is always about the Collective.