Today, I sing praise for the gift of Black Lives.
For precious, irreplaceable lives:
Emmett, Trayvon, Eric, Tamir, Freddie, Treasure,
Sandra, Breonna, George, Skylar,
and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and....
whose names I recall at all because Alicia, Opal and Patrisse
and all the Harriets, Sojourners, Ellas and Marshas before them
breathed life into memory and declared these lives matter.
Today, I sing praise for all the Fannie Lous and Maxines and Staceys
who resist poll taxes, registration tests, gerry-mandering
and every manner of disenfranchisement
over over over over over over over again
and again and again and again year after year after year.
Today, I especially sing praise for all who swung whole states
and offered to all of us a measure of blessed relief from lies, deceit and insurrection.
I sing praise for the People who taught Cornel that
“Justice is what love looks like in public
tenderness is what love feels like in private.”
People about whom he proclaims this fact:
“...here in our midst, in this hemisphere, for 400 years, Black folk chronically, systematically, institutionally were hated and yet taught the world so much about love — taught the world so much about how to love.”
While no praise I sing today is worthy of the truth of said fact,
my grateful heart seeks to try.
Today, I praise those of African descent — known and unknown,
breathing upon Mother Earth or resting in the lap of the ancestors —
who have taught me again and again
that there are no nobodies,
that our somebodiness is conferred by the Divine when we are born,
never through any privilege we may systemically or accidentally be born into;
that there is only one human race and we belong to one another.
I sing praise for Octavia and all her brood who teach us to believe in a future
where there is no history called “Black”
and no history that is not also “Black.”