She Who Struggles

Categories: Our Perspectives

By: Jade Brooks


And this is who I struggle for

This is who I fill my brain with knowledge for

My heart with love for

My spirit with resilience for

As they say, there’s a method to the madness

& no step walked in resilience is walked in vain

Even when I feel alone in the world

I couldn’t give up struggling if I wanted to

My conscience wouldn’t allow it

There’s no plane that could fly me far enough to escape the struggle

There’s no car I could drive far enough to escape the struggle

No train track, no piggy back

No means of escape could separate me from the struggle

Cause the struggle lives in me

Black life is a part of the struggle

From their conception to their homecoming when our ancestors receive them again

Cause Eugenics and narcotics and pharmaceuticals and GMO don’t want to see us live

Black love is a part of the struggle

Spring weddings and 60 yr anniversaries

Jumping the broom

Something old and something new

Young and in love and can’t get enough of you, of us black love

Brown eyes in a trance, black fingers holding hands, big lips kissing away tears of pain and passion

That black, black love

Old and still in love black love

Still respectful of, still protective of black love

I’ll be yours until we die then I’ll see you on the other side black love

Black love doesn’t die

It’s more than the rose that grew from the concrete

It’s the baby born with the cord around its neck

And all of the fatality rates that say it won’t live

That cord is the system

But we gon’ go on living anyway

Black families are a part of the struggle

Like big squeals from tiny mouths, “Daddy’s home, Daddy’s home!”

Black love like Mom saying, “You guys won’t be going anywhere until that homework is done!”

Black love like my sister saying, “If anyone tries to jump in, I’m jumping in!”

Black love like my brother taking me on dates and his only explanation of why is that he’s showing me

how a man is supposed to treat me

Black love like candy from Nanny and favorite aunties and a tidal wave flow of first cousins to play with

on holidays

Black love like tattle tales and teasing and fighting and ‘fending for

Cause they’d rather tell us that we don’t exist in that capacity

They’d rather portray the lie that we’re incapable of loving like so, of living like so, of surviving like so

But we’re in it and we did it and we continue to do so

Being black is part of the struggle

Whether you’re a yellow bone or a brownin or a dark skinned beauty

We’re in it

We resist the system in our own ways and I know in my heart that we’re always only one step away

from liberation

& when we walk that step in resilience, we walk alongside and within the spirits of our ancestors

As soon as we step away from disunity, we step towards freedom

We have nothing to lose but our chains since our black is eternal

I know now that as soon as my mother gave birth to me

I was born to struggle

Struggle is the foundation of freedom

We don’t live to die

We die to live

And that’s all we want to do is live

Live free from the constraints and confinement of the system’s oppressive, destructive, and murderous


Like Assata Shakur

I am she who struggles

I was born to struggle

I was born in struggle

Even if no one sees me struggling

Even when I lose hope for the world and don’t believe in struggling

I couldn’t give up struggling

My conscience wouldn’t allow it

When my ancestors rise from the floors of the oceans and the bottoms of their unmarked graves and

through the soil of the trees they hung from to ask me what I did with the struggle that they passed on

to me

I will say I lived it, I survived it, I wrote it down and gained strength from it

I shared it with words and tears and love

And I conceived it

I left it’s legacy to live on

And I knew that no step walked in resiliency would ever be walked in vain

As long as I’m here, in this life, I’ll be she who struggles and when I pass it on to my own reflection of


That reflection will draw upon the strength I’ve received from those before me

And we will struggle

In spirit and love and resistance

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