It seems strange to be hosting Poetry Friday after I haven't participated, at all, for almost six months. Haven't even written on my blog for the last six months. And yet here I am. Eight months into the pandemic. Months and months and months of remote teaching. Nine days into quarantine after being exposed to someone who tested positive at work. The week after a fabulous virtual NCTE. The day after Thanksgiving.
I decided I would share a new favorite poetry book, WOKE: A YOUNG POET'S CALL TO JUSTICE by Mahogany Brown, with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood.
From the introduction
What does it mean to be woke?
In the simplest sense, it means to be aware. It means to see your surroundings and challenge how we strengthen our relationships with the government, with community, and nature.To be woke is to fight for your civil rights, and the rights of your neighbors...
To be woke is to understand that equality and justice for some is not equality and justice at all. We must stay alert. We must ask hard questions. We must stand for what is right, even when it is difficult and scary.
The poems in this collection come from three women writers with varied perspectives of justice.
The opening poem:
by Mahogany Brown
is our greatest power
When we stand together
We can speak up against mistreatment
We are saying that we will not be silent about the mistreatment of people
We are saying we will not be silent
We are standing tall and firm because we believe in equity and equality
We are standing tall and firm
We are not yielding or bending because the conversation is uncomfortable
We are not yielding or bending
We understand activism happens online and offline
In the streets picketing
and in the classrooms teaching
on the blogs writing
and on the internet sharing information
It happens everywhere
It is active
It is energy
It is resisting to be comfortable
Until we all feel safe and free.
I’ve Been There Before
By Olivia Gatwood
when a person is in pain
sometimes the best cure
is to hear I’ve felt that too
from someone else.
when you cry and your best friend
puts their hand on your shoulder, and
says I’ve been there before
suddenly you know you are not the only one
sometimes, we don’t know the people
we feel for. sometimes, we’ve never been
where they are, but we don’t need
to look like each other or speak like each other
or live like each other to know what it feels
like to be sad, to be hurt, or to be in need of a friend
instead, we can simply say the words
I understand, we can make a secret club
out of our sadness, we can let everyone in
who wants to join, we can sit in a circle
and laugh and share, sing over and over
you are not alone.
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(I have never done it this way before, so if it doesn't work, feel free to put your link in the comments and I'll do an old-fashioned roundup tomorrow!)
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