I want my seat, I want to own my pride
I seek to lay claim to what should be mine
Come, let me show you how I’ve been robbed
How I’ve been pushed aside as you take flight
You are spoon-fed a manufactured greatness, handed all that you please
You see and take, but I work, and not for free
My life does not come easy
Mama said get used to being the only black girl in the room but I refuse
I refuse to bow to your refusal of my humanity
I refuse to let you silence me
I will not bow down to your counterfeit interpretation of ‘diversity’ when I can’t even be seen at all
I am sick of you saying that I am not fit to succeed in a country that was never yours
How can you be so great when your lot and inheritance is nothing more than hate?
Who gave you this nation- rather, who did you snatch it from?
How many people did you trample to call yourself the best?
You took an experiment meant for freedom and exchanged it for an incubator for your own motivation.
Your hands are stained by those you killed because of your fear- George Stinney. Medgar Evers. Fred Hampton. Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Philando Castile. Alton Sterling. Sandra Bland. Akai Gurley.
I dare you to remember the rest.
We are only acceptable when we are quiet, contained. Pushed into the schools and towns that you, statistically, will never see- staying in your bubble, not caring and stupidly unaware of the disparity.
Do you even feel the divide?
No, you’re not a fine people- you are awash with putrid anger for nothing- for fear that ‘your country is being taken from you’ and that ‘you’re being replaced’.
My pride is a crime, while your hungry and arrogant desire for reestablishment of power is swallowed whole.
Since you cannot reconcile with who I am, I shall tell you.
My eyes are brown and they watch.
My skin is brown, my body is painted with gold when the sun hits.
My lips part to speak words that refuse to be locked up because you can’t tolerate me being quiet.
My back carries the weight that my brothers and sisters have carried, my heart is aflame to set fire to your constrictions and limitations.
I am not your nigger girl. I am not some little child. I am the daughter of immigrants who speak words that have weight.
I hold my head high.
My ears fill with knowledge, with music from every corner- the rock ’n’ roll you stole, the soul that you can’t counterfeit, and the rhythms that runs through my blood.
My town booms with Kendrick, Cardi B, RiRi, Beyonce, Chance, and Solange
We hold our heads high, our edges in place, ready to speak whenever we want
We live, speak, and breathe.
You and I have got lungs, eyes, hearts, and minds- are we not human?
You did not give me my freedom, you just had to remind yourself.
You may not think I belong, but I do.
Trade your hate for better sight, your pride for a cleansed mind.
You tried to tell me I wasn’t beautiful- that my hair was a distraction, too curly, too big.
You tried to say that I didn’t deserve an education- you still try to force me into failing places.
You tried to kill me and give me a name- I am a queen.
So give me some space, let me sit at the table- watch what I can paint with my words, my stories.
The days of silence have long gone- your reign is over.
I am lovely and beautiful and me all on my own- the daughter of those who have struggled, yet won.
I shall rise, stand, and hold my hand out to my fellow sisters and brothers- our inheritance is peace, the equality we’ve long waited for.
We are Black. We are golden. Our love, tears, and lives are all grander than you may believe- our legacy is victory. Our name is Human.