When My Brother Walks
When My Brother Walks black lives matter stories

kennda_ 18 year old writer from the DMV.
Autoplay OFF   •   3 years ago
I wrote this spoken word poem the day I heard about the young man from California, Stephon Clark, who was fatally shot by police in his own backyard because they "mistook" his cell phone for a gun. As a young black woman, I fear for my life, as well as the lives of my family members, every day. I especially fear for the lives of my black brothers, black male friends, black boyfriend, etc.

Stephon Clark, Terence Crutcher, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, and more... this is for you.

When My Brother Walks

When my brother walks, he carries the weight of the world on his shoulders

Hidden forces push down onto his back, crushing him under the realities of his fate

Because it’s never easy to walk a mile in the shoes of a man who is

Hated because of the tint of his skin and the coarseness of his hair

Despised for what he’s been taught all of his life to perceive as beautiful

And to love without question, limits, or pause

When my brother walks, he is constantly perceived as dangerous and threatening

Women will clutch their purses and children as he casually swaggers by

And the store owners will keep a watchful eye as he browses for products

The policeman will stop and frisk him as he walks to the corner store at night

He’ll ask my brother why he was out so late or why he appeared to be suspicious

When all he wanted was to buy another pack of cigarettes and a gallon of milk

When my brother walks, he runs the risk of one day becoming a hashtag

If not because of the color of his skin, then the hoodie that he wears on his back

Or maybe because of the compact discs that he sells in front of the corner store

Perhaps it’s the toy gun that he waves around aimlessly and harmlessly

Or the “gun” that he reaches for when he’s pulling out his license

Maybe it’s even the cell phone he holds while in the comfort of his own backyard

See, when my brother walks, he is nothing more than a moving target

The bright red bullseye rests on the back of his unsuspecting body

Patiently waiting for the hand of the man who will eventually pull the trigger

And proclaim that his shot was taken solely out of the fear for his life

Trials, brief suspensions, and a whole lot of false hope will follow

But at the end of it all, the man will walk free while my brother’s soul roams

But what about the life of my brother who walked?

Why does it seem as though the life of a man who carried the world on his shoulders

Is suddenly deemed as insignificant or less important than the man

Who carelessly pulled the trigger of the gun that lodged the bullet?

How does a world continue on after losing the very man who kept it spinning,

After losing the man who built it up despite everyone else pushing him down?

When will my brother be able to walk without constantly being ostracized?

In a country that is supposedly the land of the free and home of the brave

But only when it is beneficial to the people who hold a position of power

When will they realize that my brother has walked a long, hard path

In order to get to the place that he is now, only to remain in the same role?

When will they understand that they can no longer suppress my brother?

When my brother walks, he carries the weight of the world on his shoulders

For no matter how persistent and unrelenting he may be, the world grows heavy

And it will continue to do so until he has been stripped of his strength and

Consequently, crushed under the devastating realities of his fate

My brother, a man who walks, is left frustrated by the oppression

And is forcefully and effectively left silenced by the threat of the bullet

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