A Prayer for Protest

To those who gather to express their outrage
To be united in grief and anger
To those who have reached 
a breaking point
In this place built on dark secrets 
and false promises 
To those who have been unheard
To those who have tried to be peaceful 
and have seen no results
To those who stand up to the powerful
only to be shoved back down
time and again
whether by the barrel of a gun
or a knee to the neck 
For those who have lost hope
because they are so tired of hoping 
wishing, working hard, 
playing by the rules
For those who want to re-invent the rules
For those who want to rest their weary heads 
and know a few long moments of real peace 
For those who have nothing left to give
but their tears and their rage
their bodies moving because they have to—
their bodies moving because
they still can
For those who have dreams for their children
but know that their children are at risk 
each time they step out the door
For those whose backs are straight 
even when their intentions are misrepresented
For those who are on the front lines
For those just trying to feed a family
For those protecting the inner circle
For those who stand in the front
with unmarked vests and cars
hauling them away to undisclosed locations
taking away their rights to phone calls and attorneys
For those who have been 
silenced and scorned
For those who have sung songs filled 
with both celebration and pain 
For those who have built a country 
with the sweat of their brows 
and the weight of oppression on their backs
For those separated from families 
and for those locked up in cages 
For those who demand answers 
and those who use their power to bring this darkness out into the light
For those who have created cultures ripe with literature and law, dances, drums and dreams, community and cuisine, music and memory
For those who are sweet, salty, spicy, 
spirited, soulful
For those whose arms are open wide
whose hearts are open even wider
May you keep marching with your ancestors 
and may we have the wisdom
to walk beside you
so that our children can all be the siblings
they were meant to become
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