This is nothing new.
How many more lives must we lose
You seen the films
you seen the shows
you’ve seen the news.
It seems - you were only observing.
Open your eyes
It’s been there the whole time.
We’ve done what we can to show you.
It’s not our job to teach you at this point
You want to be ignorant to the truth?
You can’t be anymore.
No more running away.
This is real life for us.
No matter how horrible this may seem,
It doesn’t end for us.
We can’t switch it off
We can’t cry at the end,
feel bad and
Everyday we’re afraid,
Everyday we run the risk of it being our last.
Do you understand what that means?
Not because we’re criminals
Not because we don’t something wrong.
A child was murdered.
What harm could they have possibly done.
No harm that’s the thing.
No harm other than being born into a glorious pool of melanin.
And you know our faces -
This isn’t 1960,
I could switch on my tv and see so many women that look like me.
Enough to feel like I am present
Enough to believe that I am seen.
You participate in this
But you should know.
You should know because this is a story that’s been told a million times already.
I’m not saying anything unique
And you’ll recognise you’ve heard this before.
So many times before.
Yet - still we have to fight
Still we have to scream
Still we have to die.
What will it take for you to realise
that our cries
are carried in the harmonies of the music you so often ingest.
Our discrimination is expressed in the face of the celebrities that you idolise.
Our ancestry made of mockery out of when you take words from
and try pass them off as your own.
And you’ll see that you had the privilege of saying ignorant
Not everyone does.
You chose to consciously ignore the struggles that you’ve already been exposed to.
We tried to make it pretty
And simple for you.
But we can’t won’t anymore.
We’ve done what we can to show you in the nicest way possible.
To bring you into our world
for you to find out just how cruel this world can be.
And you see that these stories are nothing new.
You know this.
Now you need to realise they’re not simply stories.
- Rumaisa Uddin
**A spoken word poem about the Black Lives Matter movement adapted for the #UCQpoetrycontest