Black & Kinky Amongst Brown Waves

In Her Honor: ECAC and Maria Gomez
April 10, 2014, 7:22 pm
Filed under: DC life, family, women


MGomez group ernest quimby photo


I had the honor of meeting, interviewing and writing a poem about Mrs. Maria Gomez, the founder, president and CEO of Mary’s Center in DC.  To learn more about their great work, please click here.

Mrs. Gomez was being recognized by the Emergence Community Arts Collective (ECAC) for her contribution to the community during their In Her Honor awards ceremony.  Each honoree was linked with a local poet to create a tribute in her honor.  I really enjoyed writing this piece and I hope you enjoy it too!


In Her Honor – Maria Gomez Tribute
© 2014 by margaux delotte-bennett

The world in which we live
is sometimes broken
people finding themselves needing to flee
to save their own lives
and those of their children

and as we run
we must decide what to take along
what is worth remembering
what must be forgotten
finely balancing what is and what shall be

Maria and her mother
came to this city in flight from their native Colombia
running from those that saw
rural literacy as a subversive act
choosing mothering as a solemn declaration
that there is still hope
deciding that dreams do not need to be buried
like husbands and fathers

Maria remembers her mother working
from 6am-10pm
hours that probably mirrored her own
when Mary’s Center was founded in 1988
in the small basement clinic
where the group of health workers
committed themselves to
“saving lives and strengthening communities,
one family at a time.”

and what does that really mean in a city
fighting a blooming crack epidemic
teenage mothers carrying the results of
rape and trauma in their wombs
veterans and asylum seeker coming in droves
with PTSD, HIV and simple desires
to just feel free

it means that Maria Gomez
public health proponent
nonprofit founder
had no choice but to stand in her power
in the midst of the muck
like her advocate mother
and her mother before that

wise woman who knew that
being a nurse (and not a doctor)
would allow her to conquer the world
because she would have more time
and humility
with much less debt

it means that the care Maria provided
would go beyond
bandages and charts
because for her it was not
just about “doing”
but creating a holistically healthy environment
where healthcare, education and family support
are promoted and celebrated

and not just in the housing projects she frequented as a
visiting nurse with the DC Department of Health
or in the rent controlled apartments
dark and dank with aging clients
but in a community
of ‘nosy’ neighbors
and healing addicts
chosen brothers and sisters
to replace those she never had

collectively committed to looking back
into the painful past
and wrapping the keys to success
into the hands, hearts and minds
of their children

little ones living in a capital city
a new Columbia
where adults can’t read
generations of families still live in shelters and
the poor are blamed for their destiny

sadly, some of those that made it
find it too hard to lift as they climb

but not Mrs. Maria Gomez
thankfully she chose to follow her calling
and our city is happier and healthier
because she did.

MGomez solo teri gentry photo


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