Africans in America

This poem was written by Heal the Streets Fellow Nubia in honor of Black History Month.

They lock us up in cages
Behind bars. With no cards.
Our decks is empty
Still our struggles are hard.

It's not fair that our opportunities are limited.
Yet the circumstances holding us back are limitless.

We fear life in its simplest form.
I want to help but I'm torn.
It's just reality we hold ourselves back.
Its not our fault though
So I think of ways to pick up the slack.

We slang crack. Look back.
Over our shoulders.
Winters over but this worlds at its coldest.

They give us ways to feel stronger temporarily.
By tearing holes through our kin
we think power means
Make them scared of me.

That power that we feel dont last long though.
Work hard, then buy the finer things in life and watch it all go.

We live in heavy waters designed to keep us pressurized.
Sometimes I think we could change if we just realized...

Realisticly I think we need reconstruction.
Our minds can't function cuz we were brought here with fucked up notions.
We lost our dignity & and our history when we crossed the ocean.

We no longer understand our own capabilities
We were kings and queens once but now we don't know how to be.
We could swim back up if we acted on new mentalities.
But when I spit truth people often times laugh at me...

Little girl 5'1" from the bay making big plans to save her people.
We can't stay in this place when we are not treated equal.

We need to start from the base and move back to our place.
Yeah Im on some Marcus Garvey shit.
Because thats what I was raised with.

Hate on it if you will
But I'm acting off of my will.

Still unsure of where we will be when my life is over.... I just hope we will at least be one step closer....

Nubia is a fellow with Heal the Streets. She is 17 and attends Berkeley Independent Study. She was born in West Oakland and has lived there most of her life.