To begin the year, I wanted to take a moment to highlight one of my clients who is creating change in her world, anyway she can.
Katherine “Kylila” Rice founded her not-for-profit corporation Poetic Change in 2014 with the mission to “Break Barriers with Poetry and Performance. Build bridges through the arts, education, and innovation.” After attending West Point as a cadet, Kylila had turned to poetry, performance, and various other forms of art to help with her own emotional well-being. She learned the power behind it, and wanted to share how someone could use that power to make change, in themselves, in their community, and in the world. She also wanted to highlight other artists who were using their work to effectuate change. She wanted her own voice to be heard.
And it is a brilliant voice. When Kylila performs, her light shines.
And now, Kylila has stepped up in an even bigger way to make change and improve her community: This past November, Katherine K. Rice was elected mayor of Geronimo, Oklahoma.
So, I wanted to open the New Year by congratulating Kylila on her win; Kylila’s election was a ray of sun in what was frequently a bleak year. Not just because Kylila will do great work for the people of Geronimo, but because Kylila is part of a movement sweeping the nation of more women and people of color running for office at all levels of government.
Local politics don’t usually make national news, but local elected officials control a lot of our nation’s most critical institutions: they run our schools, they set police policy, they control how local court fees are set, and they determine how our elections are run and how our electoral maps are drawn. So as I look forward to 2018, I am hopeful. Because we desperately need more people like Kylila running all of those things with both passion and compassion, and I am hopeful that she will be the vanguard of a much larger movement.
So, congratulations, Mayor Rice. May your achievement shine bright as an example to anyone who doesn’t think their voices will be heard. We hear you now, and we’re listening.