The Spectrum: In the Moment

Ashanti Cole-Stallworth, Op-Ed Contributor

This poem is part of The Spectrum, a forum in our Opinion section for marginalized voices to share their perspectives. To submit a piece for The Spectrum or discuss story ideas, please email [email protected].

Many times I have closed my eyes and became apart of my ancestors trials and tribulations

Ropes on their necks
Chains on their hands
Whips on their backs
Pain in their souls

Everything spiraling out of control
No one to console them
But the white man to the control them

Ropes on their necks
Hanging from the trees like strange fruit
Nothing to see but their feet
Chains on their hands

Whips on their backs
Everlasting scars forever etched in their skin
Pains in their souls
They can not win
Mothers wondering when they would catch wind of where their child is

Many times I have closed my eyes and I have wept because I was angry
Angry that my people were ripped away from their culture, then treated like garbage like we asked to be here
Liked we asked to be raped
Like we asked to be lynched
Like we asked we for anything

Angry because whether we wanted to do anything we couldn’t
We had no power even though we are powerful
Angry because young people like me who now have power to do something aren’t doing anything
Too busy trying to be popular

Many times I have opened my eyes and saw the world around me
Saw that not much has changed

And somehow are a part of a deranged system to set us up
And we out here killing each other
Killing our women
Our children
Our future
What is our future?
A grim one?
A slim one?
A no one can win one?

Will we have ropes on our necks?
Chains on our hands?
Whips on our backs?
Pain our souls?

Like Dr. King said, “our bodies are tired and our feet are somewhat sore”

So I ask you, what more can I, you, we endure before we start opening up doors?

Everyday I wake up I become apart of my ancestors trials and tribulations

I am so tired of these inhumane situations

Ashanti Cole-Stallworth is an Evanston Township High School senior. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.