Jahmil D. Effend, M.S.
Why doesn't America love us? This question embodies strife.
I had a dream that one day I was stopped by a cop and did not fear for my life.
I had a dream that one day I walked into a store and no one raised the cashier to stare.
I had a dream that one day I put my hoodie on and knew that I wasn't causing a public scare.
I had a dream that one day I went to go jogging and didn't feel like I was tempting fate.
I have a dream that one day my biracial children will grow up in a world that they won't hate.
In a society where the most dangerous thing you can be is black, I was a threat before you even met me.
From an early age I was taught the rules of the world that would protect me.
My dad said when an officer says, "stop" you put your hands up and say don't shoot.
Drop to your knees and if that same man stomps on your face don't resist, just kiss his boot.
My father was a felon, and he taught me many life lessons and here's some truth.
A suit can't cover enough black skin to make me bulletproof.
And furthermore, a master's degree won't make me equal to a person who believes they are still my master.
And if master has a gun and a shield they might as well be considered pastor.
They play God when they see us, deciding how much air pumps through your chest.
They play the ventilator, deciding if your lung can catch the next breath.
Who knew that taking a knee in Minnesota could make California waves.
Maybe the boy with the afro on the 9ers didn't make it clear, there's already enough black men in graves.
The man in front of the gun lives forever, but did his life matter anyway?
I have sinned many times and on many days, but America has to taught me living as black man was my biggest way.
Some quick history, before the slave ships and the lives taken building this country.
Nas said, "we were kings and queens, never porch monkeys".
We were kings and queens our lives mattered back then.
My black ancestors taught the Greeks and Romans way back when.
African kingdoms gave away the gold that built these so-called great places.
When Alexander went to Egypt it was covered by mountains with black faces.
Yet now I face mortality every time I leave the house, correction.
I face mortality every time I breath, inception.
I was born black, dark skin was gifted not optional.
Somedays I look at white skin and witness what's truly possible.
I'm just looking for a system that works, justice being granted for wrongdoings.
Not a media where a single instance of crime defines what "they're" all doing.
Politicians are good at hearing the issues of black folk.
Yet year after year nothing changes and we stay broke.
I went to college double majored got a degree and then went to grad school and added another.
So, why do I see officers and think to myself, "yeah, I'm just another brotha?"
Martin and Malcolm had a dilemma, what's peace if there's not justice for all?
We live in a country where the big diminish the lives of the small.
There's two worlds, those who have and those who don't.
There's two types of people, those who fight for equality and those who won't.
We sit back silently allowing prejudice and racism to stand.
But I can't scream and shout, because I am a black man.
My elevation only allows for so much conversation.
For the pain I feel deep down in my heart there is no reparation.
My heart goes out to all of the families who lost a son, daughter, father or mother.
I ponder, would there be justice if one bad cop took the life of my brother?
I sit here today and ask a simple question "Am I next?"
Is that what it will take for those around me to gain context?
I've been asked, how do you build a society and a culture that rest on a broken foundation?
A better question in my opinion, is whether this is a rebirth or a renovation?
Do we start in the kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom or the front yard?
All black people want is for y'all to start somewhere, it's not hard.
Rip up the floors, bash through the sheet rock, even if it takes all night.
When it's time for installation ask us if the new process is alright. Alright?
Black Lives Matter, there should be no debate on that.
But will change come through peaceful protest or combat?
The rioting and looting are signs of hurt and distain.
The feelings we all felt watching George Floyd scream out for his mom in pain.
I can't breathe.
I can't breathe.
You are going to kill him. They are going to kill us.
The land of the free and home of the brave, in God we trust.