Keeshan Harley, 19, is a leader with Make the Road New York, living in Brooklyn. On Sunday, June 22nd, 2014, Keeshan will be heading down to Jackson, Mississippi with 50 other young people are organizers to join our national alliance, the Alliance for Educational Justice, and many more youth, civil rights groups, and our elders in the struggle to honor the lives lost, the projects ran, and the Southern struggle for freedom. Our work is far from done, but we lift up those who have committed their lives to freedom, to the South, to our people.
“Freedom Summer is a way for us, as people of color, contained in the outskirts and fringes of society, to unify and educate one another to end the perpetuation of methods of modern slavery. This represents the willingness to help our brothers and sisters who fall under the denigrating term “Minority”, whoever they may be, whatever their phenotypes are, and wherever they are. This is a way to show the world we are a people united for a cause that goes deeper than the pigmentation of one’s skin. This is why I am apart of Freedom Summer.”
I’m sorry Ms. America,
But I didn’t do my homework last night. See I come from streets that don’t sleep.
Yet zombied bodies. Drift off in each direction, and your lessons, don’t teach me how to deal with that.
In fact, in your textbooks over look my daily existence, as if my pigment, or my people, were invisible,
And it is impossible, for me to leave the 3rd grade, when im chained to a prison cell.
So I’m sorry Ms. America,
Could you give me just one more chance, One more try? Because I think now’s the time,
140 years of trial and error, after the era of slavery, trials of terror, non – violent endeavors, severed heads, and children dead, have led to the creation of me,
I’m sorry Ms. America.
But your reign of terror, ends this day,
With me displaying, who you truly are. Your teeth smile, bright and white, allegedly lighting way for ships, but slip bars in between each crack, and hold blacks captive in cavities that lie inside.
Your eyes are blue, so the world assumes you see color, but only during fright in the depths of night. In daylight, white is the only thing your eyes can see.
Ms. America I have set off,
But this time not South, to escape courts, or North to escape torch lit cornfields. I’ve left Earth in search of darker planets. Hoping to be granted peace in a place, and hoping never to return and feel the burn and anguish of your institutions, or smell the stinge of your pollution, reducing my self value.
Ms. America I’m sorry, but you’ve been no mommy to me,
Because I’ve seen Uncle Sam kill my brothers, and watched you do nothing. And when Big Bro, goes COINTELPro, and kills a black leader or two, Where are you?
Whose liberty do you represent, whose rights are you bent on protecting? How am I to feel at ease in this 21st century when my enemies all look like you.
Blue eyed, blonde hair, wearing a look of disdain, as if I were a black stain on your carpentry.
We, the discouraged, dispirited, denigrated, denizens of this demimonde called the ghetto, don’t call this land home. We call it being owned.
Loaning us dreams won’t, ease our pain, or stop our brothers from being slain. So I’m saying goodbye.
Hopefully until the end of time, no more bars behind smiles, no child fearful of his life, because of the color of his skin. No more sorrow and strife, in this place I venture off to.
Sorry to have thought you capable of love, hoping to see a tug on the heart strings of your courts that sing justice,
I’m sorry Ms. America. But you’ve been no mommy to me.