Button: "True Peace is Not Merely the Absence of War. It is the Presence of Justice" MLK

$2.00
MLK

Stewven Brion-Meisels (1949-2014) was a teacher in Cambridge, Mass. who liked this button sio much that he order many of them regularly over several years and would give one to anyone who liked it he would wear it often). The following poem was written 7/23/2014 by Aliza Kopans, 13, a former student in Steven's Sunday School class.

The Man Who Colored Lives

A Tribute Poem to Steven Brion-Meisels

By Aliza Kopans (age 13)

There was always a pin on his shirt,
I remember.
A square,
with a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. in the center and
red words bordering the edges.
I remember
that the words read
“True peace is not merely the absence of war; it is the presence of justice.”

He always brought Milanoes to class,
I remember.
Sometimes he brought chocolate chip cookies too.
They were tiny and tasted faintly like coconut.

He got mad at us only once,
I remember.
He didn’t yell but his blue eyes turned stormy and his voice deepened.
Everyone went quiet and listened to him as he talked about respect.

I remember
the day he left
even though I didn’t know at the moment.
He wasn’t teaching but his daughter was
and she gave me a pink foam crown covered in glitter before she rushed
to see her father.

I remember
the night I found out.
My mom started crying and I did too
and we sat on the red couch
and let tears fall and fall and fall
and sadness cloud our thoughts.

I remember
temple the next time.
Someone cut pieces of paper into a giant loop
and everyone wrote a memory on it.
We stood inside the circle and passed around a microphone.
I remember
that my voice cracked when I said that he always listened
but I was too sad to be embarrassed.

I remember
when my mom came back from his funeral and
told me that someone wrote
“I never knew Mahatma, Nelson, or Martin, but that’s okay because I knew Steven.”
I wish I knew him more.
I have a pin now.
It’s a square,
with a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. in the center and
red words bordering the edges.
The words read
“True peace is not merely the absence of war; it is the presence of justice.”
And on the back red letters spell “Stephen Brion-Meisels”
which is not perfect but
I remember
that he never wanted perfect.

I remember
a person with so much to offer
and not enough time to give it all.

I remember
a peaceful soul
with an open mind
and a quiet voice held inside an oversized smile.

I remember
a teacher,
a mentor,
who treated everyone with respect and in turn was respected.

I remember
a man who painted paper
and colored lives.

– poem written by Aliza Kopans, 13,
a former student in Steven’s Sunday school class.

The button Aliza references in this poem is available for purchase from Donnelly/Colt.

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