This beautiful poem, written by my 16-year-old daughter, is dedicated to all the black girls, young women, and women who throughout their lives have been made to feel less than.
She wrote it following the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the ensuing Black Lives Matter protests happening in the U.S. and across the world.
We Will Not Shed Our Skin
I came into this world,
With rich melanin all over my temple,
Mind you it does not burn
When the sun hits,
You see, the rays from up above ‘embrace our skin
Revealing our radiance as gods and goddesses,
I look in the mirror and see a long
Deep line of culture threaded along my skin
That society wants to cut off so badly,
Yet look in their mirrors claiming it for their own being.
They say to tame our hair
Then say “I want cornrows”,
They wonder why our skin is so dark for some
Then go off getting unnatural tans,
They make fun of our thick full lips
Then stick a 200 dollar needle through theirs for an illusion
Parents having the conversation of what to do and how to act
When out during the day and night
To my brothers and sisters,
Because no matter what age
a black life is
The chance of having a gun to their head,
A knee on their neck,
An invasion in their safe place
Is higher than you think.
We put our fists in the air as a symbol
A reminder that our lives matter
And that our existence is not something to take lightly,
Nor our skin is not something to shed and put
on your precious walls built by those
Deemed less than.
You and I woven in different cloths
Both can donate precious blood to save lives
Both can fight for this country to protect citizens,
But come back to homes in different economic neighborhoods,
Come back to schools with different education systems,
Or even you come back home but I didn’t make it,
instead lying on the ground crying for my mom
Who I promised to be home before the sun sets.
So before you ask, wish, or want what my skin
And soul have to offer,
Think do I deserve to have something
I treated as unworthy yesterday,
Or in retrospect
We will not shed our skin.
-Poem By WM