“We Were Born Right Now for a Reason”

"We Were Born Right Now for a Reason"

Alixa Garcia (left) and Naima Penniman of Collective PoeTree

Alixa Garcia is Co-Creator (with Naima Penniman) of Climbing PoeTree, an internationally renowned activist, multimedia theater, popular education and spoken word duo out of Brooklyn. She is also a short story writer, poet, painter, graphic designer, producer, film editor, and curriculum developer committed to social and environmental justice with a race, class and gender analysis. Garcia has facilitated workshops and performances in hundreds of venues from Harvard University to Rikers Island Prison, and toured across the US as well as in South Africa, Mexico, Cuba and the UK.

“The week I arrived at BMC, I had traveled to 4 states in 6 days,” Garcia says of last year’s residency. “I thought that I would be catching up on some well-deserved sleep upon arrival, but to my surprise I barely needed rest at all. It was as if the land itself had taken all of my exhaustion.”

“It’s time to talk about the weather. We in trouble friends. Storm clouds are coming in,” chant poets and performers Alix Garcia and Naima Penniman in the opening of their video “When the Last Tree Stands Alone”.  Known collectively as Climbing PoeTree—a spoken-word, hip hop, multimedia duo—Garcia and Penniman eloquently activate an alarm about climate disruption, and then rouse us all to do something about it.

“What will be the message of the legacy we’ve left?” they ask.  “We were born right now for a reason. We can be whatever we give ourselves the power to be. And right now we need dream weavers…truth sayers…food growers…trail blazers… life lovers…peacemakers.”

That will start us down the path to that happy day “when the meek are  strongest and reinhabit the earth, and redefine progress.”

—Jay Walljasper