#AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile 🙏🏽 😣😞
This piece I wrote as a response to the continuing police brutality and killings of young people of color in the US some time back. And the list just gets longer and longer. Every 28 hours a young black man is killed and only 2% of police are ever indicted. The matrix of institutionalised racism that contributes towards inequality and violence directed at people of color, specifically black people, must be challenged and it is in this vein the Black Lives Matter movement becomes a necessary anthem for civil and human rights activism. In Alton Sterling and Philando Castile’s name…..
I CAN’T BREATHE
Did Fanon know, so many years ago
that this world would be ablaze with fire
When he stated, ‘we revolt simply because,
For many reasons, we cannot breathe.’
Did he know that the bones
of the people of colour,
like gunpowder would ignite skies
Garnering places like Ferguson, Missouri, Manhattan,
New York, Washington and Boston
together in peaceful protests chanting,
‘I can’t breathe’
Could he have known the last words each young black man would whisper-
Micheal Brown, 18, shouting,
‘Stop shooting, I don’t have a gun!’
Could he have heard Trayvon Martin 17, state, ‘What you following me for?’ before Zimmerman’s 9mm pistol went off?
Did Fanon hear the echo of fifty bullets shoot 23 yr old Sean Bell
As he told his best friend he loved him too?
Did he hear Kendrid Mcdade 19 question the officers ‘why did you shoot me for?’ On the back of a lie that he was armed
Or could he have known that a police officer would accidently pull out his gun instead of a taser
And shoot Oscar Grant 22 in the back,
Would he have known that Jon Crawford’s mother would hear her 22 year old son screaming
‘It’s not real!’ on the phone
shot for holding a pellet gun in Walmart Ohio
Or Amidou Diallo , a shy 23 yr old brother shot 41 times for pulling out a wallet
Did he hear 7-year-old girl, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, in Detroit shot on her sofa when she said….
She was sleeping.
We are bleeding
Deadly policies of anti black racism –
See they say Eric Garner was a big man
And that’s why the chokehold killed him–
I say bullshit!
They say he was selling untaxed cigarettes
And that’s why
In the seatbelt hold
That caused him to say
11 times –
I can’t breathe.
Like middle passage swallowed souls
In oceans deep
These streets have swallowed yours
But we keep
Our children will feel your presence
Mothers will make sure they soak up your essence
And demand the change your demise must inspire
Or we lose hope and they gain
And nothing will change.
We are breathing
Our existence is not just the earth
Nor the streets, the barrels of guns or the deceased
Our earth is our minds
Where we find
where we find
where we find,
We will not become those who hurt us
will not become those who fear us
not become those who deny us
Defy us, revile us
Change will come
The 8th Black and Asian Writers Conference and Festival will take place on the 8th of October 2016.This year we’re going for a dispersed festival. The Festival and Conference will take place in Central Manchester at Contact, from 10am til late with the day packed with panel sessions, workshops, live spoken word, theatre shorts and an after party.
Panel sessions and conversations will include: Writing in Translation; Mental Health in BAME Writing; Digital Writing; The Future of BAME Theatre & Poetry; How To Pitch Yourself; Writing with Resistance. Book your tickets and I hope to see y’all there! I’m on the Writing Resistance panel……. 🙂 x