By Janell Brown

Discrimination against African Americans is not something that’s just evolved; it’s been evolving

for centuries.

Every day a black male is identified as a “criminal” or “rapist.”

Why is it bad for a young black boy to go to the store just to buy Skittles and Arizona, wearing

a hoodie, on his way home?

You don’t see or hear about white folks being shot and their body left still for hours.

They aren’t being put in a choke hold, gasping for air, screaming, “I can’t breathe!”

Events like this impact the way African Americans look at police officers, the ones who are

supposed to be protecting us.

“Black Lives Matter” we say;

“All Lives Matter” they respond

All lives don’t matter if you’re targeting a certain race for trying to be who they are

#BlackLivesMatter does not mean other lives don’t.

Like people say, “Save the rainforests”

They aren’t saying, “Forget all other types of forests.”

Yes I am a Negro,

Black as the night, and without the black of the night sky

What star would ever shine?

Black as the depths of my Africa,

Black as the shadows we tend to hide

Segregation is like a cancer in the body politic,

A cancer we must be remove

Before our democratic health can be recognized.

I am a black woman,

Dipped in pure chocolate

Skin black and smooth

Which shows the perfecting of the sun

Built with the strength of ten thousand moons

Guiding the hope of the people

I am a woman with depths and emotions

A black woman with a mindset

To be greater than I am perceived to be,

Because this black woman has a goal

I bloom with bliss and confidence within myself

For I am a black woman and wish to be nothing else

They don’t expect us to be anything but “criminals”

Our voices aren’t being heard unless violence is to occur

We don’t want a leader that speaks down to women

As if we are objects #DonaldTrump

We don’t want a leader that wants to separate us,

For we are stronger together.

“Noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good” #MartinLutherKingJr

“#BLM” was published in Listening to the Trees, a collection of social justice poems with students from the High School of Fashion Industries in 2016. Help support the unique voices of our young authors by sharing their stories and making a donation! To receive notices about opportunities for your child, sign up for our youth writing opportunities newsletter.

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