activism, Poetry, race, Take Action

Out Loud, With Your Very Own Voice

The way the kindergarten teacher called it on the first day of class.
The way the receptionist spoke it into the waiting room before the annual checkup.
The way the librarian whispered it when entering information on the card.
The way the coach boomed it during lineup.
The way the camp counselor hollered it at the YMCA summer Olympics.
The way the local newspaper listed it among the loving grandchildren she left behind.

The way the principal announced it during the graduation procession.
The way the future in-laws enunciated it during that first meeting.
The way the minister intoned it when asking the dearly beloved to witness this holy union.
The way the nurse confirmed it before writing it on the birth certificate.
The way the HR assistant checked its spelling when setting up the job interview.
The way the emcee declared it at the awards ceremony.
The way the children proclaimed it when asked who their people are.

When they implore you to
Say his name
They mean actually say it.

When they implore you to
Say her name
They mean actually say it.

With your very own voice. Out loud.
Say his name the way his mother said it.

With your very own voice. Out loud.
Say her name the way she herself said it.

When they implore you to
Say their names
They mean actually say them
with your very own voice. Out loud.

Say their names.
Say their names.
Say their names.

say_their_names


Image: A non-comprehensive list of deaths at the hands of police in the U.S. since Eric Garner’s death in July 2014. Credit LA Johnson/NPR

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