a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
of discrimination that will not be tolerated.
You reject systemic bias and violence.
You address a shameful past,
promise a better future.
But the names you know
are limited: George Floyd,
Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery.
Awful as their murders were,
police also shot and killed 171 Hispanics.
Antonio Valenzuela was
put in a vascular neck restraint
never to regain consciousness,
and charges against the officer dismissed.
Do you know Jayne Thompson,
who was deadnamed and misgendered
after being shot by a trooper
sent on a wellness check?
You would not be able to discover
why Brandon Laducer
was shot an unknown amount of times
by police in his home
on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation,
but Native Americans are most likely to die
from police shootings than any other American.
Michele Reese is a professor of English at USC Sumter and the author of the poetry collection Following Phia. Her poems have also appeared in several journals and anthologies including Another Chicago Magazine, Atlanta Review, Blackberry, Penumbra, Poetry Midwest, The Paris Review, Chemistry of Color: Cave Canem South Poets Responding to Art, Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race, and Home is Where: An Anthology of African American Poets from the Carolinas. She resides in Florence, South Carolina, with her two boys, her dog, and her bicycles.