"How?" by Sally Idris ('19)


How do I fight injustice when I’m chained

with both visible and invisible chains?

How do I break the chains that enslaved

my mothers and fathers from Africa,

now me in a country called America?

How can I survive?


How can I survive that phenomenon called racism?

How can I fully escape the white man’s world

when leaving in the United States of America?

How can I break free from those chains, for when

I open my mouth or lift my feet to defend my right

I am put in a jail cell, to rot and presumably fail?


When will the journey to freedom end?

When will we be treated like people,

Whose lives certainly matter because we’re human?

When will our soul be capable of being peaceful?


I am painted to look darker than I am

for, I fight against the injustices here in Birmingham.


I am thought to be less than human

while clearly, I look no less than a man.


Depriving me of life, my oppressor’s attitude is cynical.

Yet, I am looked down upon like I’m the criminal.


Sorrows pouring from my body and my mind form a lake,

while my heart aches and screams for a break.


My soul begs me on its knees, pleading for me to stop fighting,

because it seems like it will take an eternity to start winning.