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Monday, June 01, 2015


by Tasha Graff

Social justice activist DeRay Mckesson praised Twitter on Monday after the social network suspended a conservative blogger who threatened his life —Raw Story, May 25, 2015

Since Aug. 9, 2014, when Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department shot and killed Michael Brown, Mckesson and a core group of other activists have built the most formidable American protest movement of the 21st century to date. Their innovation has been to marry the strengths of social media — the swift, morally blunt consensus that can be created by hashtags; the personal connection that a charismatic online persona can make with followers; the broad networks that allow for the easy distribution of documentary photos and videos — with an effort to quickly mobilize protests in each new city where a police shooting occurs. —Jay Caspian King, The NY Times Magazine, May 4, 2015

I think about my students. I’ve taught nearly 900 of them,
but when I read about death in the news I think of those lost:

to hands not old enough to vote, to hands old enough to know better,
to the lack of arms around their shoulders and the right to bear arms

automatic that did not exist when quill scratched parchment to create
a nation built on hope and blood and tears. This morning,

a tweeting troll threatened a friend’s life. This is not some ogre
from a fairy tale gone awry, stomping his foot in a cave

or under a bridge, but an open terrorist with safe, white skin.
This is not folklore, this is not a myth. This is the sad song

of America’s heart seeping the blood of black children.
Where is the pulse of justice? Where is our rallying cry?

The truths are self-evident. There is hatred in America.
But there is love, too. Oh, let there be love, too.

Tasha Graff's poetry appears in such publications as Word Riot, English Journal and From the Fishouse. She lives, writes and teaches high school English on the coast of Maine.