Manifesto

11 Apr

At the corner of Riot & Protest
we were born. Born to the nappy heads
and long hairs who spread love and revolution
with peace signs and war cries for “NO MORE WAR!”
They carried us on their hips marching, swaying to and fro, to and
fro with conviction while Marvin, Dylan and Kuti sang preludes to
Redemption Song. Yes, protest was our receiving blanket
and uprising our bassinet and still they wonder,
why we Occupy.

At the crossroads of Broadway & Main we road the bus.
Hurled onto the coattails of Montgomery. We left the Southsides of America,
past chickenchurchliquorstores and granddaddy’s barbershop into the sprawling
green pastures of Uppercrust Suburbia where Sally and Tom play canasta
and everyone gets into college and no one gets a divorce. They didn’t call us
Nigger there, but like Daisy and the Magnificent Nine, we were hated just the same.
They blanched our names; Candace for Khadijah, Mel for Malik, stuffed us in a basketball uniform and said public education had arrived because we survived.
And still they wonder why we Occupy.

Today our Baby Boomers ride power scooters making us officially grown.
we find ourselves strapped down on railroad tracks, yes there’s a spike for every boy and girl. None of us dollar green, the playing field is finally leveled; we’re all equally broke, broken soon to be reassembled in Taiwan. While they’d have us distracted by fragments of glitter strewn here and there, flotsam and jetsam and whomever else Kardashian is doing, quiet in the secret places of the heart dwell the echoes of our parents’ suffrage. We will not take another lie lightly. We will not genuflect politely. We will not prostitute our labor contritely.
Instead We Occupy.

Occupy. Verb. 1. Reside or have one’s place of business in (a building) 2. Fill or take up (a space or time). We reside in our homes built on the backs of grandpas and sewn together by grandmas. We fill up the spaces stolen from shoddy promises and twisted dreams; we’re still here so please get used to it. We take up vocal arms against any who seek to cut our toil down to nothing but meaningless pieces of paper.

We are the daughters of Angela, the sons of Pratt, Los Nietos de Chavez y Sobrinos de Huerta and like them, we’ve already been spat upon and beaten, this scourge is neither new nor life ending, but bred with resilience, knowledge, power, and concrete chins,

We Occupy.

Asani Charles 12/08/11

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