Ruanda Morrison was a poet, a singer, an artist, and a passionate advocate for homeless people — for social justice for all people.
Ruanda was widely beloved: in WHEEL homeless women’s organizing, in StreetWrites homeless/low-income writer’s group, at Mary’s Place, at Angeline’s, in Path with Art, and in housing at YWCA Opportunity Place where she lived from 2006 to 2017.
When surgery for cancer took her voicebox, Ruanda still came periodically to Path with Art Singers classes, to share in the joy of music with her friends. After surgery, cancer was in remission for awhile. Then it came back. In April 2017, Ruanda died in hospital.
Other memories of Ruanda:
- Seattle Times, From Homeless to Artist
- Frye Museum, Path with Art exhibit
- Real Change coverage of the 2014 King County Indigent Burial, A Time of Remembrance
- Ruanda’s Facebook page
I AM WOMAN
by Ruanda Morrison
There is more to perceive than the curves of me.
I speak with confidence and respect.
I expect to give and receive basic respect,
and earn the rest.
I know you can’t give nor
receive something you’ve never had.
I’m a thinker of thoughts, shallow and deep.
I can do whatever I set my mind to.
I’m aware of my power and I use it in the best way possible,
working not to abuse it or be abused by others wielding power.
I’m looking for a power exchange not a giveaway.
Freedom is expensive, well worth its cost. I will pay.
Free is not always good. Knowledge is power.
There is no excuse for ignorance.
Integrity, honesty may seem invisible like the wind, more than words
these ideas can be acted on and results felt.
These are actions I do in my daily life that mean a lot to me.
I am woman, one of many, legion. When I was made there was no
mold to break. I’m one of a kind and completely original.
I AM A WOMAN.
From “Beloved Community: The Sisterhood of Homeless Women in Poetry”
a WHEEL anthology, published by Whit Press
Ruanda’s Leaf is at Angeline’s. If you have photos or memories of Ruanda, please post a comment.
Featured Leaf of Remembrance October 2017