Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

For years,
we have been asleep
living in darkness,
drowned by grief.
There is no denying,
that slavery took place
and right after that,
came the oppression of our race.
Our leaders fought hard,
to make us equal
now years later
We are seeing a sequel.
We were ignorant,
now it’s time to get educated.
There’s no more excuses,
We have too much at stake.
Opportunity is alive,
and it’s ours for the taking.
Let’s stop receiving handouts,
it’s making us complacent.
My people,
it’s time to wake up
Black people,
it’s time to stand up.
Rekindle that fire
that’s deep within.
Give birth to a future,
with a promising end.
Filter out the filth,
that’s been poisoning our minds,
crippling our growth,
holding us hostage in time.
If we only knew,
how bright our future can be?
By paying attention
to the light we seldom see.
Black lawyers and doctors,
Black lieutenants,
Black police officers,
and a Black President.
We are not limited
as we think we are,
most of us are closed-minded,
in a world so broad.
It’s time for us to think big,
and overcome our plights,
observe the situation,
and redirect our stride.
Too much self-inflicted wounds,
Black on Black crimes,
why not lift each other up
instead of tearing each other down.
My people,
it’s time to wake up.
Black people,
it’s time to stand up.
Be that role model
that you never had
to everybody you encounter
along your path.
No longer can we stay silent
to what’s going on in our communities.
Even if we close our mouths,
our souls cry out continuously.
We are the poorest people,
yet we spend more than the riches.
Our houses are filled with roaches,
yet our cars are sitting on sixes.
When a White man kills a Black man,
a riot occurs.
Protestors come forth,
organizations emerge.
When a black man kills a black man,
everybody sleeps,
wake up the next morning,
never missing a beat.
Our minds have become numb
to the conditions we face
so it looks for ways
to avoid the bitter taste.
Alcohol and drugs,
sex and entertainment
help us escape for a while,
but reality is ever-present.
Let’s put oxygen back in our lungs,
awaken this body that was dead,
acquire wisdom, knowledge and understanding,
and tackle life with a level head.

My people,
it’s time to wake up
Black people,
it’s time to stand up.

 
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. The Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned. The work is lightly edited but has not been otherwise fact-checked.

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Jamsson Telisma

Jamsson Telisma is a writer in his 20s, incarcerated at Sumter Correctional Institution. He has published a book called “The Book of Spade,” with three more books of poems and a children’s book awaiting final editing. He said his dream was to rescue young people who are “headed down the same self-destructive paths that I have traveled.”