Today while discussing with another activist our belief that Darren Wilson will not be indicted and sharing our concerns about the aftermath of that decision, we both acknowledge that there is the possibility that people may die. With the increase in local law enforcement militarized equipment and approach to policing, we both voiced fear, not of looters or “outside troublemakers,” but of police. Over the past month people have expressed fear of the use of force by the National Guard and a scenario similar to the 1967 Newark Rebellion where 26 people died, 725 people injured, and close to 1,500 were arrested?
Contemplating the harsh reality the next few weeks may bring as we surface community tensions by forcing recognition of our humanity and that Black Lives matter, it is clear to many that the police and Governor Nixon’s response may place all of us at high risk of death. With this in mind, I wrote the following poem.
If I am about to die, let me die standing for equality and justice with the people of Ferguson and the Shaw neighborhood.
If I am about to die, let me die in my tennis shoes with a peace sign in my hands and a Veterans For Peace t-shirt on my chest.
If I am about to die, let me die taking nonviolent militant direct action and may others be inspired to take my place in the struggle for justice and equality for all.
If I am about to die, let me die stating Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter as we are all children of God and commanded by her to love each other.
If I am about to die, let me die knowing that I have been thankful for my blessings and acted to spread them in my community.
If I am about to die, let me die on my feet in the struggle for freedom, not on my knees begging for it.
If I am about to die, let me die knowing I have followed in the footsteps of those who sacrificed for me and I am paying my bill to them with my blood.
If I am about to die, let me die not cowering in fear, but let my fear lead me to a place of fearlessness and tranquility as I face injustice and keep my humanity.
If I am about to die, let me die as a human, expressing my humanity by recognizing it in those who took my life.
I am not prepared to die, nor do I want to die. But,
If I am about to die, let me die happy, knowing I died doing what is right.