Celebrating the Fourth of July is about joy and fireworks, celebrating what we have, what our nation gave us, what our nation is. For years, I’ve tried to post another perspective about some of our holidays.
It has not been a month since the Emanuel AME Church community was shot up by a white racist, fragmenting lives into so many pieces that will never fit back into a recognizable shape again.
So on this Fourth of July, here’s a poem by Derrick Weston Brown, just to remind us that we are not all equal. Not yet.
We can’t have nothing. Not our skin. Not our peace. Not our sanctuary. Can’t have nothing. Can’t shop, can’t swim, can’t walk home. Can’t pray. Can’t worship. Can’t have candy. Can’t sit in a car with friends with the windows down, bathed in bass. Can’t be a free black girl, free black child, free black boy. Can’t have courtesy. Can’t ask for help. Can’t have nothing. Can’t get the benefit of the doubt. Can’t get called by the names we want to be called. Can’t sit in church, pray in church, have a church, mosque, temple. Can’t have nothing. Can’t have a nice day, Can’t have an uninterrupted ride home. Can’t have a day when you don’t have to look over your shoulder. Can’t have nothing. Can’t have a day where you KNOW without a shadow of a doubt the people you love will come home alive. Can’t. Have. Nothing. Can’t have a day when our everything isn’t in question. Can’t even die without an “assist”. Can’t even have a proper burial. Can’t even have a memorial that goes untouched.
Can’t not be followed. In a store. For a block. For a mile. For a day. For days. For years. For life.
Can’t even get an isolated incident.
Can’t get an acknowledgement that the race card is manufactured, store bought, and made from our skin.
Can’t have nothing.
Can’t be a disappeared black girl found safe and in time.
Can’t get a disappeared black girl’s name read on air.
Can’t have an indictment, conviction, blah, blah, blah.
Can’t have paid leave, unpaid leave,
Can’t have nothing.
–-Quinn McDonald is mindful about what she has and what America still needs to give to others.