“Our Resistance: A Community Poem”

by the Activist-Curator Fellows, Yolanda Wisher, and Mariam Williams

Our resistance is rooted in
rich, fecund soil
of blood, bones and birth
made from living in tight spaces
our ancestors’ prayers
and composted experience
the minute and the massive

our roots extend to
time beyond time
the other side of the world
an unnamed imaginary
a Black radical tradition
across the earth
in Yemaya’s waters
in tangled birthrights
to names we cannot trace
to a future that is a dream
to those who have not been born yet
who will know us through
what we have left behind

our roots extend to
Nigeria, Kenya, Vietnam, Indonesia
the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, New York
Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Kentucky
Mississippi, North Philly, The Bottom
Germantown, Nicetown

we plow and till through past and lies to unearth propaganda and truth
through bloody soil to unearth blue/black songs of loss and triumph
to “you have no history” to unearth our own voices
through silence to unearth truth
through gonedays to unearth the here and now
through facile answers to unearth potent questions
through demonization to unearth self-love
through struggle to unearth struggle

we sow seeds of
marvelous wonder and repair
plants grown centuries ago with
seeds of power, light, and meaning
defiance, freedom, and liberation
seeds of confidence, courage, and creativity
self-determination, self-reliance, and sanctity

we grow weary but
we grow anywhere and everywhere
we grow in wisdom incessantly
we grow together. regardless
we grow seeds
the next generation
of truthtellers
through concrete barriers
into best ourselves


those who listen
the babies
the placekeepers—

new trees
in Philadelphia
will bear our fruit.

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