Poem

By the award-winning Split This Rock's DC Youth Slam Team, performed at 2014 National Conference

Within the back of your throat,
there is an activist waiting to be let out

Waiting to be given a chance to be loud and unapologetic
To be ruthless and free,
to be powerful and inspiring
There is an activist tugging on your heart strings right now
burning with change,
ready to make a wildfire out of every social injustice on this planet
I’m surprised your inner activist hasn’t burned your throat yet
Hasn’t singed your larynx yet,
hasn’t replaced your words with smoke yet
I’m surprised you’re able to breathe with all that soot on your tongue

Oh wait. You’ve probably dampened out that fire already
Probably swallowed an entire monsoon of complacency already

Our cities are sending smoke signals
we’ve got to be the activists willing to make change

When injustice floods your city,
Runs through your street
Shooting boys, or burning buildings,
or renting caskets, or laying off mothers
or fetishizing daughters
or making homeless men out of veterans

When inequality knocks on your front door,
or knocks down your front door
or takes food from your son’s mouth
or wires shut your son’s mouth
or systematically oppresses your people,
or your neighbors people
or your best friend's people
or you
Or anybody bleached out of the red, white, and blue

It is not enough to speak,
We must act like we believe in a tomorrow.
change is a dismantled concept cloaked in complacency.
We must be the movement, fund the movement.

Within the space in your heart
there is an activist waiting to bloom

a country's most important asset is its people
to build a house you must first build a solid foundation
a country's foundation is its people
lately our house has been crumbling
poverty ruins generations of families
it makes depression an unfortunate hand me down
there are children who have nothing to look forward to but the lives of their parents
poverty is a cycle
poverty is a virus that makes hosts of communities and infects everyone in and around it
poverty is sick
and we are the helping hands making vaccines out of social movements
finding cures by funding charities  
the only direction we aim for is forward
lifting each other up and out of injustice
we won't be heard unless we speak up

Within the palms of your hands,
there is an activist waiting to take act

We’ve realized the people have always had the power to make a change
From the ground we’ve built dreams planted on necessity

We grew from concrete
Shaped our humanity
fertilized grassroots until
they were strong enough to ground our people
Within the space in your heart
there is an activist waiting to bloom

Helped ourselves overcome struggle we thought would never end
A helping hand was all it took
At the blink of an eye we found hope
Found strength at the tip of our tongues giving us every right we deserved
realized a blessing was right around the corner

A glimpse of what joy feels like once we knew that we’ve won
We are one, with hands in the dirt building each other up

one seed at a time - for community
one seed at a time - to uplift
one seed at a time - we will no longer wait

THE TIME IS NOW
WE ARE THE CHANGE WE NEED TO SEE
no longer waiting on the world
when the world is waiting on us, to set it free.