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By a Sidwell Friends Student
Photo by Emma Vaughan



This poem by a Sidwell Friends student sheds light on the life and legacy of many of the innocent black and African American people murdered by police.





Unprecedented

Unbelievable that it’s not

No justice no peace

Prayers lost in the winds of a social hurricane

Reality has not changed, just the date

Every day is another routine injustice

Call out the perpetrators, the bystanders, every capable human being

Each murder is a glimpse of Hell on earth

“Don’t or Else” is what we’re told, but why must there by an “or”

Easy to hurt, easy to hate, easy to destroy, easy to die

No more hope or patience, only burning hearts

Trust no one, friend or foe, you just don’t know, when you’re confronting the po-po

Each to their own oppressor

Dream your American dream – just don’t wake up


George Floyd d. 5/25/20

I to bow or die

Can’t yell or cry

Breathe and survive


When the looting starts the shooting starts

A time when video isn’t enough

Arms sore from the weight of posters

Communities transformed from the looting

Murder starts wildfires from age-old flames

Tension swaddles the police and protesters

Non-lethal shooting while protesting lethal actions

Racism starts and runs until humanity’s battery dies


Natasha McKenna d. 2/3/15

You made designed the maze

You promised food and water

You dangled freedom in front of me

You said it wouldn’t hurt

You aimed, ready to kill I scurried about, unaware of the

Target painted on me


Christian Taylor d. 8/7/15

I demand justice and change

Don’t deny me after centuries of horrors

I wanna live without fear skating down my spines

Or die without a blue cloud looming

And I want my young to be judged by

The content of their character


Kenneth Chamberlin d. 11/19/11

Officers, Officers, why are you here?

Officers, officers, do not make me disappear


Officers, officers, can’t you see?

Officers, officers, you are oppressing me


Officers, officers, I have my cards

Officers, officers, there’s no need for guards


Officers, officers, your hands can relax

Officers, officers, why can’t there be pax


Officers, officers, don’t touch the guns

Officers, officers, please think of my sons


Officers, officers, why’d you have to take your guns out?

Officers, officers, remember, we know what it’s about


It’s not real: John Crawford d. 8/5/14

It’s not real

Bitter irony rings out as another

Black man faces reality

A reality too real too present too lasting

Déjà vu recalls a reality fantastical in

Its injustice

It’s not real It’s not but –

I am I am I am real

It’s not real It’s not real but –

I am I am I am