ETHS grad Liana Wallace's spoken word presented at Sunday's Rally for Black Lives at Fountain Square

American


By Liana Wallace

I am tired. The collective breath they took out of us. I can’t breathe. I am sick. Tired no more hope to give.

Tired of knowing that I will have to feed my Black children survival before their Cheerios.

Our founding fathers left us with this: “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America That it will look in the mirror today Dig up the soil and stare at the bodies it stands upon Indigenous

That this is America And her name was America When you stripped us naked like animals And heard the clincking of our chains When you raped my aunties And then forced them to nurse the babies your wife didn't have time to And then erased that part from the history book And screamed at a Black man kneeling during a football game And watched white students walk on campuses Dropping banana peels in front of Black affinity spaces

That this is America And her name was America When you burned Rosewood and Black Wall Street to the ground When you told members of the KKK that they would be more powerful In white suits and blue uniforms Policing

That this is America And her name was America Hands trembling Something shattered Broken dismembered Maybe Emmet Till told us we were already sick and we never listened We’ve been coughing ever since Medger Evers James Byrd Natasha Harlins Rodney King Trayvon Martin Eric Garner Sandra Bland Tamir Rice Aiyana Jones Freddie Gray Philando Castile Ahmaud Arbery Breonna Taylor George Floyd And the child I will someday have with Black death imprinted like barcode on brown skin And her name was America And her name is America

And her name will be America When I am shouting into this microphone Standing here Jewish and Black Spanish randomly rolling off my tongue From stolen people Immigrant people That her name will be America Even when we can’t stand her Even when we burn her flag When we set fire to corporations That this is America

That this is America That we have nothing to lose but our chains Gagging on a story that keeps repeating

That this is America That this will be America Even as we re-write her Even as we take your seats in office Even as we tell your grandchildren what you failed to tell them Even as we uplift trans voices and read Black lives matter like bedtime stories to our children

Even as you beat us in the head over And over and over And act confused as we remain screaming Even as we stop dancing for you Even as we stop performing for you and your white daughters who want Black men and Black babies without knowing how to comb their hair Even as we defund police Even as the movement you thought would last a week turns into a lifetime That this is America And her name is America That we are That I am

An American As we say no more minor reforms As we defund police As we reclaim our own communities And stop placing policing like a bandaid That policing could never be the bandaid for failing education systems That policing could never be the bandaid for poverty That policing could never be the bandaid for Black women facing domestic violence who face the dual dichotomy of wanting help but know that calling the police could bring Black death to the community That when we scream revolution When we say that policing is inherently racist That this too shall be American That her name is America That Revolutionaries are American That we are That I am American

Sincerely our founding fathers,


“When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Objective evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. - Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.” June 7th, 2020 Watch Liana's powerful delivery of her piece in the video from yesterday's rally. You can find her at 01:10:37.


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