Recently a town hall
among staff at my school
was held to process the recent travesties of systemic racism
and it closed with a reflection about hope
which made me think of the beginning of a beloved poem,
“‘Hope' is the thing with feathers -That perches in the soul -And sings the tune without the words -And never stops - at all -”
Until, it does.
It was so easy for my white colleagues
to wear hope on their shoulders
like a tactfully draped scarf.
But hope ends when my black colleagues and friends
share stories of their
sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, family, friends
shot at stoplights
lynched at fast food restaurants
shuffled into incarceration
year after year, decade after decade, century after century
Hope is the thing white people
dramatically tug at and adjust
to make themselves feel better
about their inaction.