We must be the voice for the…children, homeless, disadvantaged and underprivileged, mentally ill, unborn, elderly, minorities…
How arrogant to assume a person, a group, a race, a nation has no voice.
I know no living person who is voiceless…even our dead speak.
Hear our whispers.
Feel our tension.
See our hands clenched, lips pressed tight, and our eyes steeled for battle.
We hit the ground and curl into a tight ball. We wail, scream, rant. We beat our fists bloody. We march, protest, and riot. We hold our breath. We refuse to assimilate. We fail to thrive.
We plead and beg.
We sell our bodies.
We divorce our families.
We kill our neighbors, harm our children, our parents, your children, your parents.
We commit suicide and leave no note.
We populate your statistics, headlines, prisons, mental hospitals, Amber Alerts, and your worst nightmares.
Uncensored, we regret nothing.
We are not voiceless.
We are overachievers, perfect students, articulate, intelligent, strong women and men. We are motivators, your heroes who are always, “Just fine.” We make the dean’s list, graduate with honors, surpass expectations, lead.
We are success on antidepressants.
We can’t sleep.
We wonder how much longer we can fake being “Just fine.”
We refuse to eat. We overeat. We drink, smoke, mainline, pop, huff and snort everything from household cleaners to prescription drugs. We self-medicate.
Our voice is in our Rap, Hip Hop, Gospel, Blues, Chants, and moans. We raise our voice in selfies, murals, paintings, and graffiti. It’s in our dance. Art. Changes. Everything. Yes?
We scribble notes on bits of paper. Our voice lives in our poetry, our memoirs of pain, our spoken word, our texts, tweets, and our online comments and posts.
Oh Lord, hear our wordless prayers.
Hell, we tattoo, pierce, and burn our flesh.
YOU’RE JUST NOT HEARING US!
Learn our language—both spoken and unspoken. Listen to our eyes downcast, wide with fright, wrought with pain, bright with hope. Hear our head held high or shoulders slumped. Listen to the way we walk, with whom we walk. Hear the spaces between our words. Understand our tone, tempo, rhythm. Listen and you will hear us. We’ll lead the way to our own healing and growth.
Stand with us. But do not speak for us; for when you do, you make the deficit ours and not yours.
Do you hear us?