1. Home
  2. Docs
  3. Our Future Lancaster
  4. Introduction
  5. Commissioned Poetry

Commissioned Poetry

Let the  Rose Rise

Sir Dominique Jordan

Call: Let the Rose Rise

Response: And Rise we will TOGETHER

As the saying goes,

we will never know where we are headed until we know where we have been… Quite a unique duality

between the sacrificial truth, and a barbaric reality…

In the past, vicious decisions were made that brought us to where we are today… This land,

once an honored home to many indigenous tribes,

was stolen, causing generational pain and strife, the ills of history are quite a conundrum

and the only way to cease and then,

prevent us from continuously following it, is by enlightening the ignorant,

respecting the ignored

with pure intentions and acknowledgment…

Liberation is the only solution

to slay each of the monsters of poverty, that over time have silently and patiently ate away at the fabric of what


was supposed to stand for in the first place. DISCRIMINATION,



Made this city so oppressive and harsh for far too many to pursue…

But best believe we’ve had trailblazers, changing the narrative on purpose, Heroes so bold

Aimlessly making Lancaster City, A place to be proud of.

Who fought for justice and broke the disastrous mold

Examples like Thaddeus Stevens and Lydia Hamilton Smith,

the inception of the basis of public education became in our backyard

and saving lives

across a proverbial train track underground have solidified their names in our used to be town forever more!

Or the story of Barney Ewell,

shaking off the ancestral shackles

They said would prevent him from striving, to make it all the way to gold,

or the work our tabernacles,

religious institutions, community centers and schools

have done to help sow seeds of our youth, who knew they’d grow to reshape a small seed of a red rose into a garden of a city!

Their stories we tell

Their legacy we must uphold and cherish To make this garden,

this City

thrive and flourish

But Let’s be clear here, previous strategic

Planning inherently harmed our most vulnerable neighborhoods,

many of those impacts are still visible.

Homes and community lost, if we’re talking unfair, this is the epitome, but no going

backwards, now we’re shifting gears,

utilizing a new approach to planning, the input of the people,

a more equitable than equal understanding To achieve benefits for everyone

Call: Let the Rose Rise

Response: And Rise we will TOGETHER

Our Future Lancaster, An affirmation in a name An evolving and involving vision

Full of vibrance for our city to reclaim

With over 5,000 voices engaged and heard The Street Piano Capitol of the World

Culture on every Corner, especially in the South East,

Changes can be made with every word we speak 

As long as we step in unison,

Our city’s assets, plentiful, unique and Diverse, artistic, walkable

SoWe stay ahead of the curve with environmentally just trees,

head downtown to peep the world-renowned architecture,

Yet Our city is more than just a structure, it’s probably better to say

we are a Red Tornado, but let me slow up, close your eyes for a second for me,

just imagine and try to perceive, these changes we want to see Affordable living for all the people, a thriving business community

for our mom and pop shops especially,

Better storm drain quality and cleaner water, non profits carrying the torch for our sons and daughters,

to take us to a new regime, and one of the most important, safety in our streets,

so our seeds can sprout farther than we could ever believe,

With gratitude to everyone’s contribution

We offer this plan, the community’s solution Our Future Lancaster, our shared vision

It’s up to us now, to shape our city’s fate

To guide our city’s metaphysical growth and mission

Now that community objectives are clearly being heard

To make Lancaster the best version we can create

So let’s continue to participate and lend our voice

So In the end, A healthy and vibrant city, our ultimate reward

For a city we can all be proud to embrace 

A place for everyone, with love and grace. 

To make sure Our Future Lancaster is
OUR comprehensive choice to…

Call: Let the Rose Rise

Response: And Rise we will TOGETHER

Our Future Lancaster

Evita Colon
Poet Laureate, City of Lancaster

We are like the quiltwork of the Amish Many colorful pieces sewn with the intentionality of togetherness

Each piece of us standing out

Stand back and view Lancaster’s beautiful display

May we sow seeds of understanding which harvest in our future’s garden

Exhibiting the art filled guide through a diverse bouquet

Let our differences be the flowers crocheted in the fabric of our tomorrow

Let our home find strength in our sorrows

The impact of our planning, reaching pinnacles the heights of the Killaminjaro

Spanning cities far and wide

Familiarize yourself with the plight in your neighbor’s eye

Let our future be the wind left behind in Barney Ewell’s stride

We are in this race together

We must hear the song of the Conestoga’s cries The success of our purpose shall be more than a glistening prize to the tourist’s eyes

We cannot grow under the guise of togetherness Unity realizes some have been left behind

So this time

We lift our voices

We build champions from our challenges We make transformation from inequitable imbalances

Without fear of old norms we move forward full throttle

I imagine Lancaster being the model 

Of an embrace of home

A place that people of all walks of life never feel alone

Where the artist paints the story of the foundation of which we’ve grown

The voice and needs of the people are enthroned 

May our small businesses be the economic tone 

Of reaping the harvest of the seeds the community has sewn

Acknowledge inclusivity requires accountability

Our rise requires responsibility

From the non-profits mobility to the advocates strength and agility

We know the beauty of the red rose is knowing the concrete’s fertility and durability

Bringing visibility to the nourishment in the indigenous hands

And ability to bring humility to the continued growth of a stolen land

Our Future Lancaster

Is not only an affirmation but command 

From Cunningham’s to Watt and Shand 

We are more than just a brand

Our future takes the collective garden of voices and experiences

Honors the culture of ALL of its people and

What our community will grow to be in now in your hands.