Skylar Jackenthal '23
Second Place Winner
Haunted by Our Past
Have you ever heard of the phrase, “two steps forwards one step back”?
That is how I imagine for many in this country it feels to be black.
Progress is not linear, that I know to be true,
Though it is now so rare for the movement to have even a little breakthrough.
I am proud to live in a time where people fight with their fists held proudly in the air,
Even though it rarely feels like that fight might actually get us anywhere.
Daily I turn on the news and see change being fought for through protest,
However I don’t see progress, I see beatings, assault, slurs and far too many arrests.
I see George Floyd yelling I can’t breathe as he is surrounded by cops who don’t seem to care
And bystanders filming as he gasps for his last breath of air.
I see Breonna Taylor shot to death as she sleeps soundly in her own bed,
And no punishment for the cops who left an innocent woman dead.
Or how about the 12-year-old boy named Tamir Rice,
How different his life could have been if that cop had just thought twice.
MLK once said “it feels as though you are moving backwards but in fact you are moving ahead”,
However I don’t think he thought that 50 years after his death discrimination and hate would still continue to spread.
It has been over 150 years since the emancipation of slaves in 1863,
So why does this country act like people of color were just barely made free.
Two lifetimes ago we thought it acceptable to make a black man a slave,
Two lifetimes we have had to finally learn to behave.
Everyday people pay the price for the color of their skin,
All because society thinks to be dark is a sin.
Insurmountable numbers of black men, women and children have been killed in the land of the free,
Cops too prejudiced to think for one minute a person of color might not be guilty.
But I am done watching innocent people be murdered in the home of the brave,
I am done watching any person of color be treated like a slave.
I’m not sure I believe in god but for progress I will pray,
Because if we do not change soon, there will be great consequences for which we will pay.