Stand Together or Die Together
Love is the only answer.
When I wrote this poem over a year ago, I was in a place of a lot of anger and frustration. It was during the 2016 Presidential Election when I began to write this piece. I vented all my frustrations about what was going on and everything I was seeing. All of the division, all of the hate, all of the worry, all of the racism, the fear-mongering, the disrespect, and I had to comment on it. Spoken word poetry was the only way I knew how.
I remember racial tensions had gotten to an all-time high, at least in my lifetime. There were stories of kids in high school repping the KKK, hate crimes were on the rise, and for the first time in my life, I felt afraid of being black.
I remember leaving my girlfriends house at the time early in the morning, probably around 2 or 3 a.m. I had my headphones in walking to my car in the visitor parking spaces of the apartment complex. While I was walking, a bunch of drunk people got out of a truck on the opposite side of the road. We were different skin colors. I was scared. I took out a headphone to be more aware of my surroundings. I walked at a quickened pace; I kept looking back to make sure they weren’t following me.
I had never felt that way before.
I’m half white and half black. My dad had told me stories about his experience growing up in the 60’s and 70’s. About how he had to swim in the lake because blacks couldn’t swim at the local pool. About how he had to make sure not to go to the wrong side of town. About how his skin color made it dangerous for him to be out at night.
No wonder he always wanted me home before the street lights came on.
That night in the parking lot, I was genuinely scared for my life. Did I have a reason to be? Maybe not. But at that moment, all of the fear, all of the stories, all of the hate that spread snuck into my heart, and I didn’t want to be another casualty, and another statistic for a hate crime.
I wrote this poem to make a statement, and that statement is that the only way that fear will go away, from the separation we have created between races, is if we learn to combat our fears with love. It’s the only way.
Responding with hate will just add more hate. Responding to violence will only add more violence. I do not want any other person to feel that way I felt that night. I don’t want our elected officials endorsing, promoting, or enticing people to act in ways that have a young man scared to walk around at night because of the way he looks.
It’s 2018, and I call on you to love. Clear out this pollution, and start new. We can’t continue to live this way.