By Christiana Castillo

“We are the leaders we have been waiting for” – Grace Lee Boggs

In Detroit we are always planting trees
and Guadalupe, who is 16 and already knows water is life,
is in charge of the watering and the scheduling.
And Sa’Maya, only 13, passes out stars.
Gifts her community with something
brighter to wish on.
And the Black and Brown girls gather
write to their white leaders about how they need clean water,
and clean air to breathe,
and they don’t get responses.
But they plant trees,
And start gardens,
Take turns being comadres,
and they are already givers of wishes and life. ■



Christiana Castillo is a Chicana writer, educator, activist, and urban gardener based out of the greater Detroit area.

Cover image: Detroit Dixon Educational Learning Academy eighth grade middle school students tie markers to the garden plants. These students are part of the “Dixon Green Team.” Photo courtesy the University of Michigan school for environment and sustainability (creative commons).

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