PNY Community Poem

On June 3rd, more than 200 Philanthropy New York members gathered for our 42nd Annual Meeting. Aracelis Girmay invited us to listen to the quiet details of our lives and the lives around us through her poem “You are who I love”. 
She then guided the Philanthropy New York community in creating our own “You are who I love…” poem through a waterfall of chat messages:.

You are who I love...

My long-lost friends, you are who I love!

Gappy teeth and scrapes and bumps, laughter and tears, big hugs and small kisses, I love you mores, so serious so earnest so sweet, smells and tastes, and I love you more than anything

Love the wind in my hair

You are who I love baking bread for me

Outwardly curious and empathetic. you are not alone. I am not alone.

Your first time in the streets fighting for a new day.

Explaining the why’s

I love the new communities I discovered through zoom

Freedom, liberty, equality, and respect for others

You are who I love - you sold your funny paintings of horses on the street corner 30 years ago

You are who I love-- blunt and direct, yet tender in your desire to provide nourishment

You who comes bearing hot tea in the quiets

You are who I love you, who crossed an ocean to give me, who you have already loved before I came into being, Hope.

Activists and ancestors, guiding with knowledge of past, present, and future

With every breath closer to death

The unafraid warrior women who insist on battling but know how to stop short of self-sacrifice

Who lowers down to pick up a crumb on the floor

Sharp eye soft heart

You are who I love, holding out your hand to lift up a complete stranger, more vulnerable than you.

People who live their truth

I love the moment this world welcomed you - the moment the sun first warmed your face and said, you are who I love, you are welcome.

Offering when you have and have less

You are who I love, and you are who I wish was here.

How her memory inspires me to live

Opening her front door in a way that makes you feel like you've arrived home

You are who I love, you are my weighted blanket when everything feels out of control. you are my voice.

You who sweat the small things, you are who I love. It is not the grand gestures that (re)build a heart and soul and mind, it is the small actions of support to make life easier,
to make one at home in one's space, to feel in a space of relaxation, you are who I love.

A call at the right moment to check-in and see how I’m doing, an air hug because we can’t do real ones, a chance to connect, yes, even over Zoom, to see faces, happy or sad,

Young, wild, and free, but starting to be shaped by society

In nature, breathing the same molecules in and out shared air

You are who I love.. you who make others laugh

You are who I love as you as I am most vulnerable and honest when I am with you

Smell of your skin-loving and nurturing

Always helping me to see what is possible

Daughter, all this wide world is your birthright. You are who I love.

The girl I met in college and fell in love with at 27

Sunshine and warmth wherever it is – on my porch on a hot, hot, hot day or early days of unexpected warmth in march or November or a bench outside a hospital waiting with my father and yes praying

I love still knowing what decency looks like; words, gestures, harmless humor. that is what I love.

You are who I love - the hopeful, the hopeless, the proud, those who refuse to rest until no one bleeds out for another's profit


My grandchildren.

Language I do not understand, the cadence of joy

My daughter, you are who I love

Your small arms wrapped around me squeezing tightly

Laughter, joyful tears, appreciation, waving hello, kind words, you are who I love

You are who I love the warrior that finds the strength to push forward each day

You, who make mountains out of clothes and rivers out of spilled milk.

The beauty and fragility of this world.

Serving basmati saffron rice, steaming

Children, mine, yours, ours

You are who I love...mentoring the young with high expectations, but unconditional support.

My daughters, beautiful futures

You are who I love, Korean immigrants who came before me enduring hardships of surviving and indignities of racism

You are who I love--the neighbor who checked on us each week, snacks, postcards to write friends, all just because

You are who I love, the mother I haven't seen in over a year who takes care of me like she hasn't seen me in forever

You are who I love tender unexpected hugs, silly repetitive jokes Looking into your big hazel eyes. Falling onto a blanket of grass. listening and feeling heard


Read more about our 42nd Annual Meeting here.