On May 20, several poets shared poems in resonance with the 1962 Brown Vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that ended school segregation as part of the Voices of Freedom festival held in downtown Topeka. Here is a poem delivered and written by Tava Miller.
Just the other day I stood frozen
As I watched children being separated from their mother
As I watched this family weep for one another, I began to wonder
If I weep with them, would I be next?
Should I hold my tongue’s dialect and pray that my silence grants me Asylum in a country that already treats me like I don’t belong here?
I too, belong here.
Dear Mr Trump,
How dare you tear families apart and call it security!?
I’m more afraid of the obscurity of hatred you express in 140 characters or less
Than skin sun-kissed like sand
Beautiful, but banned
Brown skin synonymous with bombs
But when have wars ever began with anything other than white privilege?
It’s sickening how your so-called “agenda” means suffering for all of us
Maybe it’s because this was never your land to begin with
And everybody knows old habits die slow
Do you even know what a good night’s rest feels like anymore?
I mean you must be haunted by the ghosts of all the bodies whose blood you now carry on your hands
Broken bones are buried in your back yard
And white supremacy alive and well
This is not the story I plan to tell my grandchildren one day
Instead I want to say that I spoke louder than I ever had before when a nation tried to silence me while sending families back to war zones
I will teach them that their own brown skin embodied voices are beautiful
And that whenever the discussion of humanity arises
They can hold their head up high because they too have every right to sing along to the song we call America.
~ Tava Miller