KP Made A Difference
Monday, October 23, 2006

Dear Readers,

It has been a tumultuous two weeks.  I was on City Council on Monday, October 2, 2006 to complain about our Poetry program.  I will be bringing a full more in depth article about it as soon as I find out directly from the city of Lansing why it was cut.

I have received a lot of feedback about my family's appearance on Council.  Gianni, our 14 year old went up first, then me and my husband went up third.

I do not understand why we even had to go to that lengths to get something done.

I am working on trying to resume our Poetry in the Park program and will not let it go away until I get it reinstated.  I believe that that main reason why our program was "scrapped" was not because of budget cuts but because of a personal issue that Mayor Bernero has against my family because of a letter that my son wrote to him when he was 11.

I have not heard anything to the contrary.  I did not complain about it sooner because I knew that someone would behave in a mature and rational matter.

It did not happen that way. I have had another city ask me to do the program in their town.  I refused because Lansing is the town it was started in and the town it will stay in.  I love my city and refused to be bullied without standing up for the rights of performing artists and poets.  That is the urban artists.  When the performers outside of city hall perform on Friday, I am sure there is no problem taking care of them.  It is not a racial issue but a socio-economic and a cultural issue.  We wanted to send a clear message that we are very well aware of the way that our sub culture is treated and we are going to stand up and be recognized.

The funds that we were requesting were not enough to put on the Poetry in the Park program.  We still had a poetry event in conjunction with the Writers Block in downtown Lansing.  They did not have any power to obtain the respect of our local government responding to our request for funding in a timely manner.

On October 3, 2006, I found out that KP, one of our 2006 Best, Brightest and most Beautiful had died due to complications of a liver condition.

I cannot begin to explain how his death has allowed me to see things a little differently.

His wife, Letisha, is one of the strongest people I have seen.

She is still recovering from the liver transplant surgery.  I will be writing  an "Excuse me are you listening?" story about her and Kyle (KP) in our next edition.

I spent a few hours with her and her family before and after the funeral.

I could see her in a far away place as she sat down to greet friends and family.  During the periods in between she would touch his tie that she wore around her neck.  She was grasping to  try and understand why at so young but understood that her belief in God would help her to heal.

We all should aspire to be as strong as she is and as friendly and kind as Kyle was.  He knew how to stay out of conflict and to help issues flourish into positive situations.

Everyone I talked to knew that KP made a difference and will continue to do that even in death.

Sincerely, Rina N. Risper


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