Tag Archives: support

Souled Out

pray.jpg

Because sometimes, in today’s America, there is no such thing as forgiveness 

you can’t make me say

I forgive you

while the blood is still wet on

the pavement or

on your badge or

on the American flag

and when that blood dries

my face

will still be wet with

tears and thousands upon thousands of years because

there is no such thing as consolation

you can’t make me pray

for the one caught red-handed while

people pay for his lies and

his alibis watching

black mothers cry

watching

their beautiful black babies die

I will never forgive you

you forfeited that kind of love

the moment you made the conscious decision

to hate me

you can’t make me

you can’t make me paint a smile

on this tortured face any longer

because meekness has tainted the canvas enough already and

my load is far too heavy

to keep carrying your weight and

carrying your guilt to

ease the burden

it’s too late for Kumbaya and

your “sorry” makes my ears bleed

it brings me too much pain

and I won’t hold your hand

because it is stained with

the blood of my brother

And I can’t make you wash your hands

 

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Mine

mine-image
Because I’m here — and there’s nothing they can do about it.
for a second
I thought I wasn’t supposed to be
here
second guessing never gave anybody the right answer anyway
but on second thought
like a bulldozer
you wore down and
you tore down
the temple
my temple
I’ve spent my whole entire life building
and rebuilding and rebuilding
brick
by brick
by brick
my life’s work
and all this time I thought my time was well spent
until you looked me in the eye
from the other side of the table
while you sat in your seat and
I sat in mine
I didn’t know eyes could talk
until that day
the day I got a seat
at the table
like a fable
you looked at me like
a lie like
a joke like
a mess
well I laughed too see I laughed at
you
because I was too damn big for your small little mind to process
progress
you spoke no words
but your message couldn’t have been any more clear
while your spirit was screaming
I wasn’t supposed to be here
I wasn’t supposed to be
but I’m still
here
while you sit in your seat and I sit in
Mine.

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.

Buy Black by Fantasia Alston

Six men of color
Killed within a week
No, not by their own
But at the hands of the police
Enough is enough
We all began to say
Then we’ll get on our knees,
Bow down, and pray
But is that enough
The peaceful protest with our folks
Poster signs waving in the air
Heartfelt Instagram posts
Social and political activism helps
But what about economic growth
Its time to hit some organizations
Where it hurts the most
Black owned businesses
Are deserving of our respect
They work as hard as anyone else
And should be treated no less
No more trying to be a black face
Of a predominantly white brand
Getting treated poorly by the masses
While throwing money in their hands
Our unemployment rates are still higher
Than any other group
We still don’t have enough funds
For our community to help the youth
We must practice black empowerment
With regard of the revolution
Word of mouth is always great
But it’s time for a permanent solution

unnamed
Fantasia 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.

 

Livin’

livin PIC EDIT
He does whatever he wants and carelessly spreads his seeds
Tumbleweed the way he rolls around bed to bed, town to town as he please
But he don’t care, kids here kids there kids everywhere, animalistic breeding is in season
He thinks he’s on TOP, he ain’t gonna ever stop…and think to think he has no reason

Look at him, he’s the man, he got it goin on, he’s that guy with all those women runnin after him…
Givin no real value to the lives he’s bringing in…this world…and he really thinks he livin’

She is content when she gets her ends from the men
The different baby daddies that fathered her different children and
even though she’s left building up the kids’ home all alone
She picks up that phone no matter where the men roam, for the money for the school clothes…for the Air Jordans…for the Nike Foams


Her kids get to floss, she thinks she’s a boss…not giving a damn about the costs of a family spent from being bought
The men are forgiven for the wrongs done on her kids…and as long as she’s spendin’ with the little they givin’…she livin’

He sees his momma struggle and fight to keep the ship tight
but he thinks she’s supposed to do it, ain’t nothin to it, she’ll be alright
She just has herself cuz she don’t need no help
When WIC is their health and food stamps are their wealth

When the tumbleweed’s seed grows a tumbleweed tree
The cycle continues, what a sight it is to see
Oh the plight it is to be the seed falling down beneath
You can’t help but ask yourself…are you livin’ when you breathe?

17 Honest Thoughts of a Black Woman after Watching that Walter Scott Video

Walter Scott 2 EDIT

(Inspired by Darnell Moore’s 17 Honest Thoughts of a Black Man after Watching that Walter Scott Video)

1.   I am extremely thankful for this video, because had this not been recorded, who knows if the truth (the fact that Walter Scott was another fallen soldier in the war on black men) would have had half a chance of being heard.

2.   I also regret that this video has surfaced, because it’s another grim reminder of my reality – more times than not, it seems that a penny with a whole in it may even be worth more than my brown skin. Our brown skin.

3.   The video makes me a little uneasy, because they contain the last few seconds of Mr. Scott’s life. He didn’t leave his house that day knowing a police officer was going to gun him down from behind and try to frame him for his own murder (the cop alleged he fired shots at Scott because he took his Taser, while the video actually shows the officer planting an object next to his dead body…presumably, the Taser). He didn’t say ‘hey, if I’m gunned down like an animal today over a traffic stop while running away from the officer, please share/ do not share the video of my brutal death.’ We don’t know if Scott would have wanted his last breaths posted all over the likes of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. And we’ll never know.

4.   Should I be thinking more about number 3? Do I need to ask my father, nephew, significant other, cousins and friends about it? The question would be something like “In the chance that a police officer decides to treat your black body as a target on the gun range, do you want the video evidence to go viral?” Should this very question be incorporated into every black man’s will and testament?

5.   As a woman, I feel the sudden urge to hug and embrace every single black man I know. Because I want them to know that I love them. And that there is no one else like them on this planet.

6.   His family. I’m thinking about his family. His mother, his father, his brother, his 4 children and more. No verdict or civil suit or amount of money will right this wrong or bring back this man. This is a hurt and a loss beyond my comprehension. I will be praying for them before I go to sleep tonight.

7.   And am also thinking about my own family. My parents get profiled by the police a lot and it scares me. I asked a panel of police officers at a police/ community event if my parents should ditch their foreign cars to avoid being stopped. The officers looked at me like I was crazy – but what’s crazy is that this has to be a legit concern of mine.

8.   What scares me more is thinking about the possibility of something like what happened to Walter Scott happening to one of my loved ones.

9.   But what scares me the most is what I’m capable of doing in retaliation, if such an injustice was put upon a loved one of mine.

10.   I am amazed at the comfort level of the officer that killed Scott. From when he shot him, to when he planted the “object” next to his lifeless body, to when his back up came and saw what had happened, to when he checked his pulse and realized Scott was dead – this guy looks as cool as a cucumber. If that’s not evil, I don’t know what is.

11.   I have a nephew and he’s growing up by the day. He’s one of the smartest boys I know. How should his parents explain this incident (and the plethora of known incidents of ‘death of the black male by open season’) to him so that he is cautious, yet empowered? Enlightened but not defeated? Alert but not afraid? How can a child be a child and feel safe, survive and thrive in a world where people he doesn’t even know and haven’t even met have labeled him a threat to them?

12.   I’m sitting here wondering, as a black woman, how can I be more supportive of black men? You are an endangered species and I’m one of your biggest admirers. Tell me how to be a better advocate. Let’s lean on each other and be there for one another.

13.   Those eight gunshots. That drop to the ground. That agonizing pain. Is Scott’s murderer ever going to feel this pain or anything comparable? Is prison or even the death penalty enough punishment for him and other murderous cops?

14.   I have to then remind myself that number 13 isn’t up to me or anyone else at the end of the day. God don’t like ugly and He will handle it the best way He sees fit.

15.   I hope and pray this is being brought up in classrooms, workplaces and dinner tables across the nation and across the world — especially in South Carolina. Everyone – no matter who you are or where you stand in this case, deserves a chance to vent and process this tragedy. Its therapeutic, it’s healthy and it’s needed.

16.   I wonder how this era – the exposure of the war on black men – will be recounted in schools, in textbooks and in other ways, if it’s even remembered at all. Only time will tell.

17.   I wonder how many more days until time stands still again, when we hear about another Walter Scott.

A Fist in the Air for the Black Professors

college classroom EDIT

“I think she’s the hardest professor in the department,” a classmate of mine said. “I mean, maybe she just doesn’t like me. Maybe she doesn’t like white people or something.”

We were reflecting on our professors while waiting for a class to start. The classmate I was talking to was equating a professor’s challenging and rigorous coursework to discrimination, because to her, a black professor that pushes students intellectually was not acceptable.

I was much younger back then when this conversation occurred. I remember feeling the need to reassure the girl that the professor in question was not racist. We talked about it a few seconds more and then our class started. But don’t think for a second that I forgot about this encounter.

In my experience in education thus far, black and brown professors are far and few in-between, in white-dominated American academia. I cherish the few times I’ve been able to take a class led by someone who looks like me. I look up to these black professors. I commend them.  For me, they help legitimate my place in academia. When I watch them teach, I get a warm and tingly feeling sometimes. In short, their very presence reiterates a sense of black pride.

But my pride takes a hit in the jugular when the ability of the black professor is questioned…simply because he or she indeed has ability. The wound stings even more when white professors known to be difficult are accepted by fellow students while black professors in the same boat are chastised and even reported – simply for doing their job. And my blood begins to boil when, in the midst of all this, the “easy” black professors are put on a pedestal by students. These professors easily become the “favorites.”

After having conversations with students and black professors at multiple institutions, many black professors are at a fork in the road – I either have to dumb down my work and myself to seem less intimidating to students or I can continue to push my students toward bigger and better, taking the risk of being perceived as black and educated by the students I teach. In this instance, who is the racist here?

But it gets even murkier when tenure, accountability and university standards are thrown into the mix, as many black professors feel forced to be as demanding as possible and to dish out the hardest readings, assignments and projects one could fathom, as many black professors are pressured to “prove” themselves to their colleagues, working ten, twenty times harder, simply to be given the time of day.

To the Black Proffesors:

I will admit, in the beginning, I was wrong. I was wrong to admire you, simply because you look like me. Yes, image certainly speaks volumes in this image-saturated world we live in, but image is barely the tip of the ice burg. I am now in awe of you all, because of your plight. You are pushed and pulled in every direction. You are burdened with research, micro aggressions, students who love your failure and hate your fruition, colleagues who doubt you simply because of how you look, students (like me) who hold you to high standards in your work and in your blackness, students who are afraid of you because you know more than they do, faculty anxiously waiting for the day you slip up to call your bluff, and students who look like you waiting in the same line, because unfortunately, they do not yet know that they look like you and then some.

A few weeks ago, I accepted an offer to pursue my Ph.D. in education. To say the least, I will need your guidance and your love, but I also realize you need my support as much as I need yours.

This is why my fist is in the air for the black professors; this is why yours should be too.