For centuries the rope was the executioner,
the cruel executioner of males of color.
It was the overseer, the master who loved bitter fruits of hatred,
a rope reminded black men and boys that they were just chattel,
a rope that promoted legacies of suppression and grief,
the rope declared that they could not be dreamers,
Black boys' dreams were not just deferred, they were aborted!
Black boys were the bitter fruit that fell from trees of oppression.
Today, the overseer wears blue suits with shiny badges and billy sticks,
Sometimes riding horses to control thousands of peaceful protesters
just holding signs grieving the death of men breathing their last painful breaths
while well-suited men mocking athletes on their knees become murderers with their knees,
knees that murder the dreams of fathers and sons and even daughters.
Ropes and knees are still bitter fruit forced upon men "threatened" by white women
Whose sole delight would be to cast the first stone.
The knee is also the deadly virus that is ravaging communities of color
Disease, homelessness, hunger, arrests and depression plague too many;
Can we bleach these serious conditions away?
Will we find safe vaccines under the Christmas tree?
Where is the gardener who will prune these bitter fruits?
Where is the leader who should provide tests and order personal safety?
Where is the proof of reconciliation and healing in the photo op "book"?
America, it's time for us to replace the ropes of bigotry with knees of kindness;
When we kneel, we must pray for healing, for justice and respect.
The Statue of Liberty holds a light, a promise and dreams of all Americans;
We must demand equality, unalienable rights and respect as imperatives in America:
The word "American" ends in I CAN!
I Can Respect!
I Can Care!
I Can Have Dreams that Explode!
Yes, I CAN!
Note: I am an 80-year-old African-American female who was a sit-in protester in 1960, and 50 years later I CAN STILL DREAM!
FRANCES DuBOSE SINGLETON
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