What a wonderful world indeed

Published 3:05 pm Monday, May 29, 2023

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For the past few decades, the end of May signaled the end of the school year and getting ready for my class’s Pre-K graduation. I had watched young children who came into my classroom grow from scribbling on paper to being able to write a short paragraph, read simple books, learn to do some pretty amazing science experiments and learn to speak simple phrases in ten different languages including sign language.

Then with June on the horizon, I had a couple of weeks to teach them to use sign language to the words to Louis Armstrong’s beloved song ‘What A Wonderful World.’ It still brings tears to my eyes as I remember the children signing it on graduation day. The words to the song, and the bright hope for the future on their faces as they signed the song to the music, made me cry as much their parents. I truly wished for them to walk out of my class into a wonderful world.

I often sing that song to myself as I walk around town on my morning walks, as I am so thankful to see all the wonderful changes that are happening in our city.  Last week I had meetings with city leaders, community development leaders, and leaders from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Building Integrated Communities Initiative or BIC.  There are so many wonderful people working hard to make life better for all of Washington’s citizens. I am honored they count me among them.

One of the initiatives I am working on is the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum’s role in the Washington Latin American and Caribbean Public History Project. This project is an integral part of the BIC Initiative and will help to develop a bilingual oral history archive that explores Latin American Caribbean heritage in Washington/Beaufort County. It will highlight first-hand perspectives of local residents who have migrated to the greater Washington area, settling here, and to becoming vital participants in helping to archive Washington’s history of Latino migration. The archives will be used for educational purposes as well as preserving their own family histories.  It is these kinds of projects that help build bridges instead of barriers to growing stronger, inclusive communities. Communities where “everyone is invited to the table and shares equally in the feast” as the old folks used to say. And just as important, it might help others to see the beauty of people living together, celebrating each other together and working together.  I have been told by some I have a ‘Pollyanna attitude.’  I admit I do. But that is what makes the world wonderful for me. I want to be the change I want to see. I want to help find solutions to problems and help make the world beautiful for someone else.

I share with you the words to the song, ‘What A Wonderful World.’

I see trees of green
Red roses too
I see them bloom
For me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue
And clouds of white
The bright blessed day
The dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow
So pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces
Of people going by
I see friends shaking hands
Saying, “How do you do?”
They’re really saying
I love you

I hear babies cry
I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more
Than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Ooh, yes