I agree that protesting is best done in peace,
But wasn’t that tried by taking a knee?
Or hashtags that said Black Lives Matter,
And praying that change would come with the chatter.
Voices were raised, injustices shown,
So much was done without throwing a stone.
There were plenty of calls of action before,
Peaceful posts, rallies, discussions, and more.
Setting fires and looting wasn’t first done,
It happened only after more shots with guns.
And it’s not just violence that started the unrest,
It’s finance, it’s health, it’s a community distressed.
It’s role models, education, access to care,
It’s life expectancy, jobs, and professional hair.
It’s giving your children more ‘normal’ names,
It’s Halloween costumes and make-believe games,
It’s driving, jogging, and playing outside,
It’s seeing a cop and wanting to hide.
It’s voicing a concern and being dismissed,
It’s the watchful eyes of an interracial kiss.
It’s homeowning and judgement and proving yourself,
It’s the disparities affecting mental health.
It’s a visit at the hospital, then questioning your worth,
It’s more mothers that have died while giving birth.
It’s telling the truth, but them assuming you’ve lied,
It’s needing painkillers but being denied.
It’s assuming you’re ignoring advice to take meds,
Instead of listening to what you have said.
It’s being labeled as difficult and noncompliant,
It’s avoiding the doctors since they seem unreliant.
It’s searching for allies but fearing a foe,
It’s remembering to go high when they go low.
It’s dismissing the issues as a ‘mix-up,’
It’s being asked to explain what part is corrupt.
It’s brushing it off if there was ‘good intent,’
It’s standing out at certain events.
It’s being asked which country you’re from,
Or saying your English is better than some.
It’s carrying a burden that shouldn’t be yours,
It’s having to prove that you’re not poor.
It’s expecting you don’t live in certain locations,
It’s researching racism in spots for vacations.
It’s systemic and endemic causing the trouble,
And some of us tend to just live in our bubble.
We all have bias, we all make assumptions,
With the best of intentions, we can still misfunction.
Acknowledging the issues is a good start,
Then working to change through policies and heart.
It’s true that not everyone shown on the news
are representative of the same views.
Some are calling for their voice to be heard,
While others are crossing some lines that are blurred.
Some stand for change that may come about,
Some show their anger in hostile routes.
Try not to judge what’s right or what’s wrong,
But remember the inequities that have lasted so long,
Walk in their shoes and see through their eyes,
Remember the history and the previous cries.
Try not to accuse, or label, or blame,
And try not to forget all of the pain.
I agree that we shouldn’t fight hate with hate,
But we shouldn’t blame those who were put in this place.
Poetry Thursdays is an initiative that highlights poems by medical students and physicians. If you are interested in contributing or would like to learn more, please contact our editors.