Why Do They Kneel?

October 30, 2017

 

We dragged them to this country and demanded they stand

And they stood

To plant the fields

They stood

To pick the cotton

They stood

To dig

To build

To live

To die

They stood

 

And when we told them they no longer had to stand under another man's yoke

They tried to stand

Free as any man

And we pushed them down

To remind them of their place

 

When our country fought wars under a flag meant for all

We asked them to stand too

And they stood

In muddy fields

They stood

With bullets raining down

They stood

Under a flag of freedom

They stood

 

And when they got home to celebrate those hard won victories

They tried to stand

With battle-scarred pride

And limbs sacrificed to freedom

And we pushed them down

With words like Jim Crow and Segregation

 

So they stood again, towards the dream of that flag meant for all

They stood up to vote, as was their right

And when they were killed

They stood up to march, as was their right

And when they were beaten

They stood up and were beaten

And stood up and were killed

And stood up

And stood up

 

Until now

 

They cannot stand any more

They cannot stand the beatings

They cannot stand the death

They cannot stand the empty promises

And empty looks from people who say "all men are created equal".

 

So now they kneel

Too exhausted to stand

They kneel

Too full of grief to rise

They kneel

Too full of prayer for hope

They kneel

Before a flag meant for all

They kneel

 

They will rise again when we stop righteously holding up that flag expecting them to stand

And instead reach down to lift us all up.

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