I was born in Brooklyn, New York in January 1968. I love New York City. For me, NYC is both a geographical and a spiritual home; it is a place that I navigate easily, where my loud voice, brown skin, and heavy footsteps fall right into place, and where I feel completely in my element. One of the things that native New Yorkers will admit hesitantly is that NYC is not a clean city. Vibrant, yes. Busy, of course. Multicultural and multilingual, certainly. But clean? Not so much. That’s why native New Yorkers secretly love heavy rainfall. Rest assured that it will be nearly impossible to hail a yellow taxi when it rains, but when the cloudy heavens open, the grey concrete streets begin to glisten like hematite crystals. Randomly scattered trash will find its way to the cross-hatch gutters on the street corners, and for a moment NYC will be as clean as Chicago or Seattle.
For the past few years, and more intensely in the last few weeks, I have been hoping and praying that our cities and the entire country be washed clean of the filth of bigotry and intimidation, the toxicity of police brutality, and the pollution of indifference. My fervent prayer has been “Make it rain, down Lord. May justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream, as the purest of Kings once said. Make it rain down a fire that will purify our hearts and refine the American dream so that there is truly liberty and justice for all.” I thought about the song “Make it Rain,” written by Foy Vance, a Northern Irish musician, and I thought about the robust conversations that I’ve had in the past with Hamlin girls about diversity and democracy. I then thought about our sacred mission:
“The Hamlin School educates girls to meet the challenges of their time, and inspires them to become extraordinary thinkers and innovators, courageous leaders, and women of integrity.”