The Money is the Medicine (poem)
Whose land do we stand on, legacies erased?
Aho, can we heal this reality
as philanthropy claims new legacies?
A sleepwalking sector—
moving at a glacier pace
while the planet melts
black and brown lives.
Decisions made from above
plummet the human spirit below
but philanthropy is “love.”
Love is honesty.
Honesty is pride.
Pride is not ego.
Pride is medicine. And money
is the medicine here.
Why are we hiding the medicine from the people?
(while calling “the root” evil…)
The root is radical. Radical is the healing here
where the Titanic’s norms are upside down.
Is the economy broken? It is certainly not
right-side up, for we know this inequality is wrongwalking into the
Black library on Welton Street
in old Five Points in “New Denver”
in our clean white clothes
heckled by the homeless, clutching our wallets,
double-click locking our car doors,
walking into the grand conference room
to learn how to “decolonize” wealth.
To decolonize the colonizer virus, follow these steps:
And face inward your healing—
your positionality. Only you know your truth.
Reconcile your truth, America.
And face outward your healing.
With your heart, not your mouth. Feel in.
Meaning be human, meaning be vulnerable
with all our relations.
5. Represent. Authentically.
6. Invest. Authentically.
Is there any doubt why the words
“repair” and “reparations” share the same root?
Has white supremacy blown its final Trumpet?
Have we arrived? In the era of gross?
The era of shame? The era of blame?
Playing a final game now of thrones?
Why are we (philanthropy) holding on to $800 billion on a 15-year timeline for survival?
Can we own up to how we are harming
our communities, creating schisms, fueling isms?
Holding onto 95% of the wealth, stowed away
in the coffers? We need to move it ALL.
GIVE IT ALL AWAY…10 years…
While we can still talk about our fears.
We are all looking into the great mirror of fear,
paid for the silence
in our eyes, in our hearts,
in our minds, facing the spirit
as the body depends (seemingly)
on the very structures that feed us.
Is the answer within your position
to take the reins/reigns?
Or to resign in protest?
There is a way. We need to innovate
to shift the culture forward in vision
with indigenous wisdom.
Everyone here has the knowledge
to go back far enough into the future
how to choose joy,
to choose laughter,
to choose love,
to choose passion
AS WE DECLARE—our lines, our stands, our circles:
our commitments to racial justice, gender justice,
economic justice: our visions of flipping billions
in wealth and overcrowded prisons
into centers of future living
for formerly incarcerated women
…That is just one idea…What are yours?
Why do you stay (in the field)?
Because white supremacy is everywhere. This is somewhere.
Where we have access and power
to move access and power.
There is a time to stay.
There is a time to do the work, then walk away.
Hold on to your culture.
Hold on to your spirit.
Hold your line.
Cast the net wide
and extend that line
every single day
in ways that only you know how.
Teach the youth about money
and how to move it.
Advocate for people of color,
especially if you are people of color.
White men, engage
and push the Boards of white men forward.
Gatekeepers—open the gates of imagination
and engage the subjects of our work.
Treat them as experts, not subjects.
(Show them respect.)
If you are in power, stop trying to teach.
Start trying to learn. This is an act
Treat each dollar like an investment
(personally and professionally).
Spend your values. Share your bounty
in alignment with your truths and rites.
Meet the people where they are at
where you are at,
seeking and offering
the grace you wish for yourself.
Check yourself before you wreck your…mirrors.
Heal your self care. This is love work
and there is no way out.
This (philanthropy) is not magic, but it is medicine.
Follow seven steps to heaven:
Copyright © 2019 Adrian H Molina. Commissioned by Grantmakers in the Arts for this issue of the Reader.
A live scribe poem by Adrian H Molina, aka Molina Speaks, created at a Decolonizing Wealth book talk by Edgar Villanueva reflecting the experience and sentiments of community hosted by Voqal and COFIE Blair-Caldwell Library, Denver, March 11, 2019. Molina is a master of ceremonies, artist, poet, adjunct college professor, facilitator, and creative consultant for a better world. While living in Denver, he has continued his work in rural areas in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. His multicultural upbringing and pan-indigenous philosophy inform his understanding of intersectionality at a root level.