During the summer of 2016, youth of the Tambourine & Fan camp in New Orleans participated in The Peace Poetry Project. One of the results was a magical poem by the 9 & 10 year old girls class on peace, entitled “Our Piece on Peace”. It was written 2 weeks before the Baton Rouge shooting occurred. Their poem was received so well by the Tambourine & Fan staff; they were invited to recite their poem at the end of summer event, where other campers and public attendees from around New Orleans were in attendance.

Tambourine & Fan is a large summer camp. The children are placed in groups. Each group has either girls or boys and are aged no more than one year  of each other, (ie, 7 &8, 9 &10, etc..). Three classes participated in The Peace Poetry Project. The 7 & 8 year old girls group wrote a list of peace words and a poem was written based on their words. The 11 & 12 year old boys class wrote haiku’s on what peace is to them. Some of the poems are listed at https://thecg137.org. There is a video of their, one rehearsal performance on the site also. The 9 & 10 year old girls were the only class invited to recite in the end of summer program.

“Our Piece on Peace” is a beautiful poem. Its’ is an intensified contribution of art due to the timing  of their piece being written right before the Baton Rouge shootings.  In addition this class was the only one dedicated enough to memorize and recite their work, regardless of the fact there was no incentive to do so. Though, only a portion of the girls  contributed lines to the poem, they did so as part of the class. Going through the process as a group to come up with a peace poem took patience, collaboration, and being humble. It took critical thinking to create such a harmonious piece. When invited to recite in front of an audience, each class member embraced the opportunity.

It was a pleasant surprise to experience, when, once the poem was written, the entire class came together to memorize and recite it. Initially they were easily distracted and appeared not to focus on the task at hand. In the end, when the time to perform arrived they did so perfectly, professionally, ignoring all distractions. This is peace in action.

Baton Rouge is a little over an hour away from New Orleans, Our Piece on Peace was written before the Baton Rouge shooting.  The recitation performance occurred after the incident.  With tensions tightly wrought in the air,  their unified voices could not have given a stronger message. Children want positive, progressive change. Young  voices demanding, speaking with intention stating: “Remember us, children, striving for a better tomorrow…” are clearly desiring to be heard. Remember, the children are our future. If that fact is not remembered… No matter how loudly they speak, the voices of children are but a murmur in a sea of pain, conflict and disharmony. Their poem might be the words of many children, who are young and want only to have fun. Childhood comes once and then it is gone. Why wouldn’t they want a world  “without segregation, No separation, Unifying All nations” wouldn’t all children ask “so keep us in mind. Remember the children”…

The question is, is there any way we can oblige?