Basement Poetry Presents: “Black Lives Matter” by Zena Goodwin

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“Black Lives Matter” Lyrics

Whenever I state that “Black lives matter,” the words 
“All lives matter" get hurled back and they hit me like a round of bullets straight to the heart. 
This is a fact I’m very much aware, but somehow 
you feel the urge to silence my message that life for us in this great nation has never been a crystal stair. 
I thought you were my colleagues, my allies, my friends. But the fact is ya’ll were just that good at playing pretend. 
So busy listening to respond and not understand. Trying to 
convince me that my and my peoples’ pain is neither relevant, nor real because it’s something you or your ancestors never thought or cared to feel. 
Lecturing us about peace when ya’ll originated this turmoil 400 plus years back when the first African slaves set foot on this continent. Crying for peace when there is no peace because the cops keep murdering us in the streets. Claiming you love Jesus when you don’t even love your neighbor. 
Saying you fear God, but have more reverence for the flag, anthem, and commander in chief. Calling desegregation, affirmative action, and even a Black 
president progress when a man was lynched just the other day. 
You have not the right, nor the privilege to dictate to me how I ought to feel or how I should express it. 
We’ve tried marching, kneeling, sitting, even peaceful protesting – and all that is ​so​ wrong. But you can’t even give me a straight answer when I ask you, “the expert,” to tell me the “right” way. 
The longer you say “All lives matter,” the louder I will shout “Black lives matter!” 
I’ll shout it from the rooftops, I’ll cry aloud and spare not because I cannot and will not be silenced by blatant ignorance! 
When Black lives hold the same value as maintaining law and order, then and only then will all lives truly matter.

“Black Lives Matter” Live Performance

Zena Goodwin’s live performance of “Black Lives Matter” starts at 16:16.

About Zena Goodwin:

I am a 26 year old native of Easton. A graduate of Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, PA, where I majored in Psychology and minored in Criminal Justice. I am an aspiring author, an avid reader, and writer, but poetry has become my passion over the past two years. I am also the founder and coordinator of Poets for Justice, a group dedicated to encouraging hope and inspiration by uniting creative voices of those who believe in justice and racial equality.

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