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Saturday, January 26, 2019


by Donna Katzin

A contingent of Jewish women and supporters march to Freedom Plaza in Washington on Saturday. (Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post, January 19, 2019)

In the shadow of the Thurgood Marshall Court House,
above the African Burial Ground,
we come from our own Egypts
our Red Seas, deserts of despair,
wildernesses of silence.

Rivers from centuries and continents
some resplendent, some reluctant,
converge, water this wave.

As the rally wakes to Aretha’s reveille—
Respect—the youngest demonstrator,
on her mother’s shoulders,
thrusts her tiny fist
over the shivering crowd.        

A black bearded brother in a pink pussy hat
snaps bare fingers, bobs to refrains
of Sweet Honey in the Rock.

And from the Italian contingent –
Ravioli, ravioli,
Give me my birth controli!

In kente cloth, a grandmother from Nigeria
waves her sign: Human rights
don’t stop at the border.

Our parka-ed multi-colored bodies—
gay, straight, trans—sway
to the Resistance Revival Chorus,
do not feel the cold.

Millenials contemplate the question:
Ever wonder what you would have done during slavery,
the holocaust, civil rights?
You’re doing it right now!

Together we remember those who march with us:
Sandra Bland, Mother Jones, Dolores Huerta,
Ethel Rosenberg, Fanny Lou Hamer,
who taught us: Solidarity is
not a spectator sport.

Rise up, Sisters.
Democracy is a dance.
Our movement is a wave.
We are a revolution.

It’s our damn turn.

Donna Katzin is the founding executive director of Shared Interest, a fund that mobilizes the human and financial resources of low-income communities of color in South and Southern Africa. A board member of Community Change in the U.S., and co-coordinator of Tipitapa Partners working in Nicaragua, she has written extensively about South Africa, community development and impact investing. Published in journals and sites including TheNewVerse.News and The Mom Egg, she is the author of With the Hands, a book of poems and photographs about post-apartheid South Africa’s process of giving birth to itself.