A Poem for the Citizens of Liverpool
The following poem was produced during a recent Citizens of Everywhere workshop with Liverpool-based charity Moving On With Life and Learning (MOWLL). The organisation caters to adults with learning disabilities, acquired brain injuries and mental health concerns, offering them the support to access vital services, and educational and creative opportunities in the city.
Our workshop, led by a group of postgraduate research students in the arts and humanities, focused on dissecting the notion of British national identity, what this means in the context of Liverpool’s multicultural population, and how we can work towards dismantling and reconfiguring our understanding of British citizenship.
During the workshop, participants were encouraged to write their own poems inspired by Levi Tafari’s ‘Celebr8’. His poem – which meditates on the theme of inclusion with reference to race, gender, (dis)ability, migration and LGBT+ identity – embodies the spirit and ethos of the Citizens of Everywhere initiative and is a celebration of Liverpool 8, one of South Liverpool’s most diverse areas.
Written by Terry Kelly, this compassionate poem echoes Tafari’s work and highlights the importance of community cohesion in promoting social inclusion.
Citizens of Liverpool
We should celebrate,
learn to appreciate
and not hate.
Because there’s room for you,
and there’s space for me,
living in this world of diversity.
Let’s celebrate diversity.
Nature has dressed us up,
in many shades and colours of skin.
People come to Liverpool from all over
and we open our hearts to them like family.
China, Somalia, wherever you’re from,
we have so much to learn from one another.
Disabilities, they vary,
and society has a long, long way to go.
We’re all born different,
but deserve to be treated with respect.
Don’t point the finger at someone,
treat them the same and call them by their name.
Refugees are suffering,
but who really knows their plight?
No-one should have to flee their home,
or walk for miles for water, warmth or food.
We waste so much on things we don’t need,
when we ought to be sharing with the rest of our world.