SPECIAL ISSUE: Say Her Name

Know Justice Know Peace

Kira Allen


Irregardless of our faiths, our ethnicities, where we are from, together we come in love. Together we come to bury Racism, to bury bigotry, and to resurrect and revive love, compassion and tenderness. We pray that you would bless and empower all of us who are here to reach and to feel the love and to share the love.
— From Rev. Clementa Pinckney’s sermon, “Requiem on Racism” in response to the Apr. 4, 2015 shooting of Walter Scott in Charleston, SC


I wish to speak about 101 Calhoun Street

Not because it’s named for John C Calhoun – Who’s racial rhetoric helped to ignite the Civil War

Not even because Charleston is where the first shot of the war’s entrenched hatred was fired

 

I wish to speak about the sanctuary there, the history, the legacy of Mother Emanuel A.M.E.

How 35 people hanging from nooses n fires burning her to the ground in 1822

Did not stop the rebuilding

How ordinances against the congregation’s faith n earthquakes n the confederate flag

Did not stop the rebuilding

 

I wish to speak about 199 years of WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED

Wish to speak about 1 little girl, 3 men, 7 women, 4 of them Reverends, 9 of them parents and 9 of them gone

The Charleston 11 

 

Reverend Clementa Pinckney at 41

            A State Senator and inspirational Senior Pastor at Mother Emanuel A.M.E.

            Husband to Jennifer, father to Eliana and his little grasshopper Malana

Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton at 45

            An empowering Speech Therapist and Women’s Track Coach at Goose Creek High School

            Alexis’ twin; Christopher, Camryn and Caleb’s mother

Reverend DePayne V. Middleton-Doctor at 49

A respectful Pastor and administrator at Southern Wesleyan University

            Gracyn, Kaylin, Hali and Czana’s mother

Ms. Cynthia Graham Hurd at 54

            A thoughtful Manager of the Regional Branch of the County Public Library

            A devoted wife and sister, who spends 31 years inspiring kids to appreciate books

Ms. Myra Thompson at 59

            A delightful Bible Study Teacher at Mother Emanuel

            Anthony’s wife, Kevin and Denise’s mother

Ms. Ethel Lee Lance at 70

            An incredible Lifelong member and Church Caretaker at Mother Emanuel

            A widow, a mother of five and the first cousin of Ms. Susie Jackson

Reverend Dr. Daniel Lee “Super” Simmons Sr. at 74

            A spirit-filled Retired Pastor, a Veteran who lives to help other vets and a regular at Bible Study

            Husband to Annie, father to Daniel Lee Jr. and Rose Ann and a loving grandfather

Ms. Susie Jackson at 87

            A devoted Lifelong fixture at Mother Emanuel, Choir Member, Trustee and the Aunt of Tywanza

            A widow too, mother to Walter Jr. and a doting grandmother

Tywanza “Fresh Wanza” Sanders at 26

            A self-described Poet n Artist n Business Man

            He never got a chance to be a father or apply his newly minted BA in Business to a career   

Their massacre won’t diminish the light of love that fills every corner of Mother Emanuel either

Even though they are people with congregations n students n fathers n mothers n sisters and brothers n friends

Missing them    It is Wanza’s mother Felicia who lay over her 5-year-old niece n play dead to survive

 

Imagine listening as the 21-year-old killer reloads five times n spews his justification

I have to, you rape our women and you’re taking over our country. . .”

The same rationalization leaves more than 10,000 homeless in Tulsa’s “Black Wall Street”

The same murderous explanation annihilates

Emmett Till

n Oscar Grant

n Kathryn Johnston

n Trayvon Martin

n Aiyana Stanley-Jones

n Eric Garner

n Rekia Boyd

n Mike Brown

n Shantel Davis

n Tamir Rice

n Miriam Carey

n Walter Scott

n Tanisha Anderson

n Freddie Gray

and    and    and

Barack Obama – if they could get to him –

Instead churches burn and Black people from D.C. to Ferguson to L.A. die in effigy

 

Oh Angela please tell me

How did we go from All Power to the People n Black is beautiful n We Shall Overcome to

#BlackLivesMatter #HandsUpDontShoot #SayHerName #IfIDieInPoliceCustody

Don’t get me wrong    I got nothin’ but love for folks standin’ in the gap    AGAIN

but when does this shit stop

when do we do more than just survive or fucking die

senselessly

tragically

endlessly

 

Since when did walking home

or a broken tail light

or a missed signal while changing lanes

become a death sentence

 

What allows someone to desecrate places of solace and sanctuary with so much hate

 

Rekia Boyd wants to know

Sandra Bland wants to know

Kindra Chapman wants to know

Hell I wanna know

 

Mother Emanuel

Mother Emanuel

Mother Emanuel

Mother Emanuel

Mother Emanuel

Mother Emanuel

Mother Emanuel

Mother Emanuel

DO WE EVER ACTUALLY OVERCOME


The Oakland based author, artist, activist, advocate, and facilitator, Kira Allen holds an M.A. in Transformative Arts from John F. Kennedy University, and a B.A. in English/Creative Writing from Mills College. Still, she honors Poetry For the People workshops at Glide Memorial Church in SF as the place where she found her voice and the courage to face her struggles as a single mother, sexual abuse survivor, and recovering addict. Now, Ms. Kira delivers phenomenal workshops and performances combining poetry and art to empower her community www.writethissec.com. Her poetic memoir, Write This Second, was published in April of 2015.