Tag Archives: awareness

The Friend in the Family by Fantasia Alston

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There was this friend in the family

Who always came around

He’d make the kids smile

Whenever they began to frown

He was so damn cool

He was so damn nice

He was so damn handsome

And oh so polite

One day this friend in the family

Gave me a wink

I was in so much shock

I could barely think

Am I going crazy?

That might be so

Fantasia, calm down

It was nothing, let it go

This friend in the family started giving me money

Buying me candy

And calling me honey

I had no guidance

So naive and lost

Wanting to make a friend

No matter the cost

“He wouldn’t hurt a fly”

That’s what everyone would say

But this friend in the family

Tried to rape me one day.



I became a recluse

Always stayed inside

Because on that very tumultuous day

A part of me died

A few cousins took notice

Asked what was wrong

But I kept saying “nothing”

While pretending to be strong

The more time passed

The weaker I became

His presence around my family

Was driving me insane

Who would be next

If he couldn’t get to me

A predator like him

Shouldn’t be free

I finally spoke up

Told my cousins about that day

They were definitely in shock

But brushed what happened away

Acted as if it never happened

So he still came around

The very few I trusted

Had certainly let me down

I guess it wasn’t a big deal

Maybe I should be more vibrant

And when he sexually assaults me again

I should just remain silent.


unnamedFantasia Alston is a guest writer for theblackertheberry.org. She is a 22 year old free spirit  and visionary who spends most of her time  writing poetry, reading (preferably mystery books), and doing whatever she can to help better the community, whether it be volunteering at the nearest homeless shelter or picking up any litter found on the solid surface of the Earth. She also enjoys painting whatever comes to mind, cooking, meditating,  and taking long walks to nowhere.  She currently resides in Columbia, SC. She is a writer for #SCHOOLGIRLHUSTLE, an organization that supports and empowers girls and women to stay in school. Learn more about her and her work here. Follow her on instagram here.

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Perspective

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This piece is dedicated to the children who have lost their lives to school.

It’s not even worth it. I’m not gonna walk down the 10th grade hall. She’s gonna find me if I do. I hate that feeling when we lock eyes. I hate that she and her friends sense my fear, like a ferocious pit bull out for a kill. Being here is hard. Sometimes, I wish she weren’t here. Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t here. I’ve tried to not be here last year, and 6 months ago and just 2 weeks ago. Momma says my skin ain’t thick enough, but time after time, the knife says otherwise, because unfortunately, I’m still here.

I’m

still

here

Here we go again with these bad ass girls. They’re one in the same. They wanna fight. They wanna challenge authority. They wanna be “bad bitches.” Don’t give me that ADHD-special ed.- mental health bullshit either. If my history class was about slingin’ on the corner or where to buy the best Malaysian hair, they’d be all ears. They know how to steal from the corner store. They know how to open up their legs. Thinkin’ they know everything. Too bad they don’t know they ain’t gonna amount to not a thing. Give them what they want. If they don’t care, I don’t care.

I

don’t

care

I don’t care about nothin’ else but him. My momma don’t want me. My daddy don’t want me. He’s all I got and I’ll be damned if I let this little hot-in-the-pants freshman take him away from me. I hate that feeling when they lock eyes. I hate the way he lights up every time she walks by him. When he approaches her, it sets my soul ablaze in the worst way. Take, take, take. That’s all everyone does around here. My grandfather took my virginity. My foster father took taking my dignity a step farther that one day when he…One day. I’m gonna take from this world as much or even more than it has taken from me!

It’s not even worth it but the knife says otherwise I’m gonna take from this world it sets my soul ablaze in the worst way.

Let’s all take the time to talk to our children and other children we know. Let’s also take the time to read up on and acknowledge the effects of bullying, abuse, low self-esteem and mental illness on our youth.

What you see isn’t always what you get.

Rest in peace Amy Francis-Joyner.

Tamir

Kiara Jacobs, 8, hugs her brother Quentin Stamen, 13, at a memorial where Tamir Rice was fatally shot by Cleveland police officers who mistook the 12 year old's toy gun for a real gun.

Kiara Jacobs, 8, hugs her brother Quentin Stamen, 13, at a memorial in the Cleveland park where Tamir Rice was fatally shot by police officers who mistook the 12 year old’s toy gun for a real gun, Dec. 4, 2014. The Justice Department announced on Thursday that a two-year investigation found a pattern of unreasonable and unnecessary use of force by police in Cleveland. (Ty Wright/The New York Times)

“I’m sorry”

The first two words that come to mind

The most passive saying

For the most violent crime

I’m sorry

Folk are trying to make those words the end of his memory,

To add to the his-tory of black lives lost, similarly

But that won’t happen, so don’t think twice

He will never be forgotten

His name is Tamir Elijah Rice

“Black Lives Matter”

The catch phrase of our time

Another infamous line

Somebody’s lying

Because the more we say it, the more we’re dying

Tamir left us a matyr, a sacrificial lamb

Because we have not sacrificed enough

shame on them, shame on us

Life is so rough, life is so lethal

when even in death our people

Just don’t give a damn

“A wealthy man, one who stands tall”

Is the meaning of the name Tamir

How could it be more loud, how could it ever be more clear

The death of a child at the crooked cop’s hand

All because a 12 year old child was more of a man

It hurts

To write the words on this page

Because no matter how much pain the truth may bring

All still won’t be so phased

To take a stand and remember him

But I will

He made

The ultimate sacrifice

His name is Tamir Elijah Rice.

Remembering to Forget

remembering to forget PIC

Those who were hurt remember – too often the world forgets. – African proverb

Mass media just got word of a 17 year old boy who was hanged in a small North Carolina town a few months ago. About 2 years ago, a large southern university stumbled upon an abandoned mass grave filled with the bones of slaves who helped build the university and serve its students and staff..

We can’t change history, we can’t undo injustice and damage, but we can certainly do one thing – we can stop remembering to forget.

Lynching was, besides a means of execution, also a way to evoke fear. The display of a dead, motionless body swinging in the wind was a symbol of power. The powerless (those subject to lynching) were meant to be indefinitely afraid of the powerful (the ones that tied and tightened the noose). In most high school social studies classes, the story goes a little something like this: lynching used to be a thing in the slavery and Jim Crow eras, but then came the civil rights movement and in effect, subsequent legislation and lo and behold, all lynching seized.

And what happens when the world gets a whiff of reality – that lynching still goes on, in small towns across the nation? What happens to that story?

Just ask Lennon Lacy’s parents. Their 17 year old son was found lynched on a swing set in a trailer park in August in a small North Carolina town where racial tensions are alive and well. But instead of assessing the area’s current racial tensions, run-ins of the recent past (like when Lacy’s neighbor put up a sign that read “Niggers Keep Out” in front of their home a few years ago) and Lacy’s relationship with a white female in relation to Lacy’s death, officials rather rule it a suicide.

“The family’s lawyer, Allen Rogers, believes that the police aren’t ready to deal with the realities of race, and what really could be going on in this case.” (Uwumarogie, Why You Need to Know about Lennon Lacy)

On another note, as a large university was planning to extend its cemetery, it ran across a big surprise. After clearing through mounds of dirt and trash, a burial ground was uncovered underneath. There were over 60 enslaved men, women and children abandoned and tossed to the side, much like the trash that covered their graves in the first place.

At some point somewhere along the line, someone or a group of someones made a conscious decision to desert the slave burial grounds.

When some universities attempt to sugar coat the institution of slavery on their campuses – highlighting the opportunities for freedom that were available to some slaves, or how they were so beloved in the community or how said official gave his slaves special privileges – what happens when too many skeletons build up in the closet? What happens when the skeletons are given a voice? What happens when history rears its big, fat ugly head?

America’s peculiar institution of slavery and the ways of Jim Crow have been replaced by a way of thought just as peculiar – remembering to forget.

The officials involved in the Lacy case rather deem his death a suicide than uncover its dirty truth.  And the dignitaries of the southern university’s past chose to let the legacy of slavery fade into the darkness. We tend to think of forgetting as a passive act – in other words, we don’t think of people forgetting on purpose. However, events of late prove otherwise.

We choose to forget what we don’t want to remember, what we consider undesirable or simply, what we feel doesn’t fit the image we desire to uphold. But when we forget to remember the oppression of the past for the sake of our present consciousness, it all results in a miscarriage of justice for the future. Today, the descendants of those in the lost mass grave have been abruptly disconnected from their own blood and the family and friends of Lennon Lacy know virtually nothing surrounding the death of their son, their brother, their cousin and their friend – who’s been deceased for months now.

Strange fruit hanging…still hanging…. from the tree (or in the Lacy case, the swing set) and the remnants of the peculiar institution of slavery awakening from the dead all have to be dealt with.  You can have all the selective memory you want, and you can choose to ignore history as much as the days are long – but even skeletons buried under 100s of years of dirt, trash, disrespect and disregard will one day awaken.