Sunday, February 5, 2023

Special Feature: SocioPolitically Conscious Haiku for Black History Month

                                                                                                                 sunrise, sunset
                                                                                                                 another boy shot
                                                                                                                 again Black

                                                                                                                 Chen-ou Liu

My Dear Readers:

On Wednesday, February 1st, the first day of Black History Month [an annual observance originating in the United States and now being observed in the United States, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom], the College Board released its long-awaited curriculum for a new Advanced Placement class in African American studies. Two weeks earlier, the Florida Department of Education had rejected the course, claiming that it “lacks educational value and is contrary to Florida law.” Then, nearly a week later, Manny Diaz, Jr., the state’s commissioner of education, released a flyer listing his complaints, based on a pilot version of the course. They included the fact that there were units on intersectionality and activism, Black queer studies, “Black Feminist Literary Thought,” reparations, and “Black Study and the Black Struggle in the 21st Century.” The Movement for Black Lives—which brought out the largest demonstrations in American history, in the summer of 2020, with more than twenty million people participating—was dismissed as a topic of study... 

When the College Board released the revised curriculum, all of the sections that Florida complained about had been removed... These omissions undermine the legitimacy of the A.P. course and the College Board itself. They also diminish the power of Black studies to make sense of our contemporary world.

...there is a general assault on knowledge, but specifically knowledge that interrogates issues of race, sex, gender, and even class.

It’s an ongoing struggle to roll back anything that’s perceived as diminishing white power.

-- excerpted from The New Yorker,  Feb. 3:  "The Meaning of African American Studies: The discipline emerged from Black struggle. Now the College Board wants it to be taught with barely any mention of Black Lives Matter."

I would like to share with you the following sociopolitically conscious haiku to makes this year's observance of Black History Month more personally and reflectively meaningful:

I am nobody:
A red sinking autumn sun
Took my name away.

Richard Wright

slave cemetery
i scrape the moss to find
no name

William M. Ramsey

hot afternoon
the squeak of my hands
on my daughter's coffin 

Lenard D. Moore

whitewashed church
at the street corner a black man
with a crown of thorns

Chen-ou Liu

bitter night -- smelling the heat of a burning cross

Duro Jaiye

black faces ashen
in summer night commotion
handcuffs gleam

L. Teresa Church

a police phalanx
moves backward
a black woman

Jack Galmitz

passing the shadow
of the George Floyd mural wall
white cops on the beat

Chen-ou Liu

Added: written in response to Democracy Now, Feb. 16: Buffalo Supermarket Shooter Gets Life in Prison Without Parole for Racist Massacre

the mass murderer
turns away from her stare ...
you don't know
a damm thing about Black people
we're human, our kids go to school

FYI: Simone Crawley, granddaughter of shooting victim Ruth Whitfield: “We all know the pure hatred and motivations behind your heinous crime, and we are here to tell you that you failed. We will continue to elevate and be everything that you are not, everything that you hate, and everything that you intended to destroy. … We are extremely aware that you are not a lone wolf, but a pawn of a larger organized network of domestic terrorists. And to that network, we say, 'we as a people are unbreakable.'

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