Trapeta B. Mayson’s newest work captures the kindness across the Commonwealth
PA Humanities is known for championing the humanities, and now kindness. AL DÍA spoke with Trapeta B. Mayson, current Philadelphia poet laureate and the mind behind its World Kindness Day poem.
Philadelphia poet laureate Trapeta B. Mayson recently released a poem in collaboration with PA Humanities for World Kindness Day.
World Kindness Day is an international holiday formed in 1998 to promote kindness. It takes place each year on Nov 13.
Mayson was invited by PA Humanities to write a poem about kindness and the state of Pennsylvania. The poet called the invitation an “honor” of an opportunity to promote kindness.
“[The project] was really intriguing to me and really fell in line with a lot of the things I’m working on as an artist,” Mayson told AL DÍA.
Teaming up with non-profit PA Humanities, Mayson penned an original poem, inspired by the citizens of Philadelphia and broader Pennsylvania, titled “Kindness Lives Here.”
“Kindness Lives Here” was part of the non-profit’s project, PA Kindness Poem Project.
In addition to a citizen-focus, the poem was inspired by the “crowd-sourced” messages shared on social media for the PA Kindness Poem Project.
The project was inspired by the tumultuous past year, the challenges faced and heartbreak felt throughout. Its goal was to show kindness and generosity’s importance in our shared experience.
The project was a year-long initiative that encouraged Pennsylvanians to share offerings of generosity, unity, healing, reconciliation, and peace.
Pennsylvanians shared these sentiments through social media, showing out with their kindest sentiments on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
From social media submission, to the running themes of those submissions, Mayson was inspired to capture Pennsylvania citizen’s desire for kindness.
“There were three, I would say, running themes… one of the themes included how kindness is really needed now, at this time, after we’ve been through COVID, the elections,” said Mayson.
In addition to kindness, the other themes were instances where an individual was kind to someone, and examples of being kind to others.
Many Pennsylvanians shared comments with PA Humanities about a need for kindness, and described instances where individuals were kind to them.
Another goal of the project is to give communities an avenue to have their stories heard.
"This was definitely a brilliant way to [achieve the goal]... The fact that it was easy for individuals to access,” said Mayson.
The poem was completed around early October. PA Humanities shared a video of Mayson’s poem being recited by various Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians.
This reading of “Kindness Lives Here” featured 12 readers (if excluding Gritty’s contributions).
Featured in the video are:
- Trapeta B Mayson, writer, Philadelphia 2020-2021 Poet Laureate
- Conrad Benner, photographer
- Mario Andretti, former racing driver
- Tracy Davidson, NBC10 anchor
- Nydia Han, 6abc anchor
- Ukee Washington, CBS 3 anchor
- Beck Dorey-Stein, author
- Alejandro Diaz, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer
- Jason Schupbach, Westphal College of Media Arts and Design at Drexel University dean
- Gisele Barreto Fetterman, Second Lady of Pennsylvania
- Frances Wolf, First Lady of Pennsylvania
- Laurie Zierer, Executive Director of PA Humanities
As the PA Kindness Poem Project was released, the nonprofit also announced their rebranding from Pennsylvania Humanities Council to PA Humanities.
PA Humanities believes the new branding is more open, inviting, and inclusive while better representing togetherness.
In their rebranding, PA Humanities hopes to support community revitalization and give voices to the unheard, through future projects.
As the non-profit does more programs in and around the state, PA Humanities hopes to open the door to more conversations and stories.