Poet Carlos Andrés Gómez wants the world to answer: “What would it take for you to give up your home?”
The verse is a line from the Colombian author’s spoken word poem, published on NowThis on Saturday. The piece, titled “For The Immigrants and Refugees,” describes the reality of the millions of people across the globe who have been forced to flee their homes.
It’s also a celebration of the immigrants, who, like his father, sought a better life in the United States.
“I only exist because of his exodus,” Gómez says in the poem in reference to his dad, who arrived to the U.S. at age 13. “How many of us would be here now, without the immigrants and the refugees? The families who did whatever it took to salvage tomorrow from the wreckage they see.”
During a short interview after the performance, Gómez says he was inspired to write the poem in response to the growing xenophobia and nationalism in the world.
“This piece is reflecting on the sacrifices that people make,” the New York-based poet told NowThis. “My hope is that people who might feel a little uncomfortable with somebody who looks different than them or dresses differently than them, or speaks a different language, [that] they may take time and say, ‘I want to understand this person, I want to know what moves them and what inspires them, and what makes them smile,’ because that person’s story may be something beyond anything that you might be able to fathom. Or it may be something that you can really relate to. Or maybe both of those things.”
Watch the artist perform his poem above.