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Freedom by Damini Awoyiga

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

Our ancestors

Stolen from the homeland

From the coasts of West Africa

From Nigeria, From Ghana, From Senegal, From Gambia, From Congo

Captured, chained, tortured and taken against their will

Forcibly stripped of their dignity and culture

In their hearts,

they knew they would never be conquered

Freedom would come

Standing on the shores unknown and alone

Their hearts and mother tongue severed with whips

as they were sent on ships

Learning the languages that surrounded them

English, French Spanish, Portuguese

They drew on power within them and persevered

They could have given up

But they didn’t

cause they knew

Freedom would come

Their shackles rubbed them down to the bone

Arriving in the Americas to be sold, worked, and used

Worked as if they were cattle

Brutalized like animals with no disposition or rights

They held on to faith, song, and family

With their heads held high

In silent protest

Through will and resolve

They knew freedom would come

They were forced to agree, just do and obey

But NO, their souls would not surrender

Their souls grew, heated up, and boiled over, causing them to revolt

Though at times they were not successful

Their revolution showed that they would not be controlled

They will not give up without a wrestle

Freedom would come

Freedom without restraint,

Freedom Without control,

Freedom without the power and dictation of another.

August 1st, 1834,

Marks the day that they were freed

The day their hopes and dreams were guaranteed

In the face of systematic and legal degradation

We reaffirmed our humanity

Many fled from the grasps of slavery to be free,

Our ancestors

Jamaican Maroons, Black Loyalists, and Black refugees

With dreams, hopes for freedom, and new beginnings

Met with racism, segregation, discrimination, and oppression

Today we still wrestle with a lack of economic opportunities

Inequities in healthcare, education, and housing

And a justice system without racial equity

We still wait, hope, and pray for true freedom

Freedom to reclaim spaces

To be accepted by society and not feel like outsiders

Like our ancestors, we persevered and survive

Through faith, family, and music

We cannot find our freedom alone

Emancipation is more than just a day

It is a process

We all need to come together,

To understand, listen, and learn

To join this climb on the hill of emancipation

For black liberation

To be set free with the absence of fear

To experience liberty

Free from racial stereotypes

For us to become one nation

For all people to be respected and valued

to be freed from all chains

To be equals

Without judgment or assumptions

In our hearts, our freedom lives

and it cannot be taken

Freedom will come

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