January 30, 2016

Preface

In the months following the eruption in Ferguson, my youngest, then a sophomore in a predominately white public high school, found herself at the center of debates at school dealing with the fallout from the death of Michael Brown. The debates included: the framing of the issues by the media in black versus white, the policing of black and poor communities by law enforcement officers, poverty, looting, rioting and the color and face of crime as portrayed in the media, the identity of the black male narrative, and the relevance of black life, whether and how it matters. She was blindsided by the racial division, turmoil, hate, and anger displayed throughout the media and even in her environment. She did not know what to do, how to respond, what to feel. As part of an effort to begin a process of understanding and thus healing, she wrote a poem, subsequently published in our local newspaper. It is reproduced below.

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