A young African-American girl faces the truth that black lives are a target of unjust killings by a system that fails to protect them. It’s her reality that any day, she can be next.
You ask me to strip the blackness from my skin,
just to be worthy of being called human.
You ask me where I get my stubbornness from.
My bruised wrists answered you.
You ask me how I got so sick.
I’m forced to digest the strange fruit you have made of our black bodies.
These tree branches smell of genocide,
They have seen unjust killings.
As often as changing seasons.
These are my family members.
Drawn in chalk on dead pavements,
before they can even learn to color in the lines.
Where do I go?
When home is choking life from my people.
Forced to become soil, because we look more like it than sky.
If I don’t live long enough to tell these stories to my grandchildren,
I pray my name will be imprinted on the air they breathe.
I will remind them that their skin is the shade of courage.
They will know that this war was no place for a coward,
and we will not be silent to please the masses.
You dare us to burn down the system,
to reveal blood roots of oppression,
and I say “yes”.
If that is the only way you will hear our ancestors scream for justice,
How dare Black be beautiful?
How dare Black be safe?
How dare Black be worthy of living?
How dare Black be alive?
If I’m next, say my name.
Remember that I was not born to hang from trees.
I am more than Strange Fruit.
God has made me present.
And I was here.
We are here.