Instruction & Curriculum

Forget Allies and Advocates, I Needed an Activist

We (educators) like to think that we’re advocates for students. I’ve even been guilty myself of living in the nobleness of the word. However, as our current climate (societal and educational) continues to toil with inclusivity and what it means to be responsive to ALL, I grow impatient with our “nobleness.” Case in point, social media is exploding with a story of a high school wrestler who was forced to cut off his dreadlocks to prevent the forfeit of a match. While investigations begin and details are sorted, the dejected face of Andrew Johnson is fixated in my mind. Partly because I’m a mother and partly because I’m an educator. There’s something about the pain of seeing a student caught between a rock and hard place that is palpable. And it’s so palpable that his face is the face of many others. Others like students, who felt they had more allies and advocates than activists on their behalf.
I write this poem for all the Andrew Johnsons in the world:
Forget Allies and Advocates, I Needed an Activist
by LaToya Morrison
Forget allies and advocates, I needed an activist
When I didn’t have the words to articulate
When I looked around and didn’t see
anyone who represented me
When time wasn’t taken to identify my struggles
because moving on was easier for others
When time was running out
and no one had time to take for me
Snip
Snip
Snip
away
my
dignity
Forget allies and advocates, I needed an activist
What good is it to show me your empathy
When your empathy does nothing for me
You think your support helps my trouble?
How? when it doesn’t even pierce your bubble
Oh, the safety that you have from afar
Watching my struggle
Without changing the bar
Snip
Snip
Snip
away
my
identity
Forget allies and advocates, I needed an activist
Your words are noble, yet empty
You didn’t even try to save me
When my back was up against a wall
You stood by and let me fall
You rest in your good intention
Yet your focus should have been on prevention
Snip
Snip
Snip
away
my
humanness
Forget allies and advocates, I needed an activist
When will you ever take a risk for me?
When will I simply get to….just…..be?
Be all of who I am without question
Not having to sacrifice myself to give you a lesson
A lesson in what it means to truly stand with me
Not just sit by quietly
but align with action for my sanity
Snip
Snip
Snip
away
my
spirit
Forget allies and advocates, I needed an activist
I needed you to see me
I needed you to step up
I needed you to speak up
I needed you to sacrifice what you thought you’d gain
and take a moment to prioritize my pain
While you’re busy marveling at your allyship and advocacy
You’re not getting the gist, see?
Cause I didn’t need allies and advocates
I needed an activist
to
help
me
In the words of Maya Angelou, “When you know better, do better.” Folks, we MUST  do better on behalf of ALL students, especially all of the Andrew Johnsons in the world.

“Poetry is emotion put into measure.”
-Thomas Hardy

Intresting essay samples and examples: https://essays.io/examples-samples/

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