I am no criminal. Standing on the sidelines, of a court room, cold, collected and cruel. I wait, watching my brother being handcuffed to a sentence in a prison outside of his own mental hell. I watch on whilst many other brothers are locked up for crimes perhaps, which deserved punishment but not such harsh ones. Others, like mine, their innocence falling on a deaf legal criminal justice system.
Our crime – to be born brown.
Fire, rages within. Its song not rebellious but a sweety melody of injustice. Why do many black brothers find themselves behind cell blocks? Year, after year, the pattern same. Changing prison numbers, replacing names once familiar. Confined behind four walls, a silence long. Unheard cries, suffocating in lungs dry. New faces, with stories the same. A slave to a system of another kind, nonetheless a slave regardless. Then, where is our saviour? Why aren’t we free from shackles generational?
Our story- driven from a desire to survive systems designed to exterminate us.
Cries ours, merely shadows of messages familiar. We sing from a hymn sheet, ancient. Our fight to defeat a supremacy that enslaved our forefathers. A fight, not new. Simply a war, recycled. Our bodies, victims of a threat, musing invisibly in our daily lives. The churning of time, unchanging. Forced to remain still, we struggle amongst the ashes of our pasts. United by our grief and fear, stay we stagnant. Forced to obey rules, defeatist, we continue on in our obedience. Married, miserably to a life of inequality. Poverty and disadvantage, two of many of the children, born out of hopeful desperation. Find we solace in escapism. Our dreary reality, comforted in the arms of seductive toxic distractions. We live. We die. Without freedom, we die every day.
Steps, small on a road terribly long. We begin our journey with acceptance. Waking up from the contaminated sleep of ignorance. Here, we start. Yes, the world is unfair, in fact it’s cruelly injustice. Lives plenty lost on this path. However, although we find ourselves locked up like unruly animals, this isn’t the end. We aren’t meant to be slaughtered as sacrificial lambs for a cause we’ve not determined. Awake, we further forge our present and future. We own our lives.
Future, where not only stands my brother but yours too. Relieved ancestors, united in a hopeful wake of a brighter future. Hand in hand, together we ourselves take charge. A responsibility to educate, change and control our own destiny. Prisons no longer, a way out for our oppresses or a fate sealed to the brotherhood unfamiliar to European genealogy. Neither, is it an opportunity for us to run from hardship, we cannot face.
We can’t afford to wait for a saviour. Time runs out now. With pressing urgency our search ends with ourselves because together we are the saviours. Our destiny, in our hands. All we need is to smell our freedom, recognise it and then to change the hands of time, stuck in a past, begging to be rewritten.