Writer Daniel Beaty has penned a poem in response to the killing of George Floyd and race-based violence.
The piece, "Dear Future Ancestor," is at once a message of healing and a call to arms against racial injustice. Although the voice speaks to a "future ancestor," it is also a vital present-day plea to come together against bigotry.
"I want people to [understand] that we are more alike than we are unalike. I really believe that we are all connected," Beaty said in a release about his work. "There are a variety of things that happen in the world that cause us to believe that we're different from each other.
"I believe that a lot of the greatest problems that happen in the world come from that false belief that we're disconnected; but, it is my belief that we're all reflections of one another."
Beaty, an award-winning author, activist, and playwright, often tackles social justice issues in his work. His works include Through the Night and Emergence-See!
Listen to Beaty recite "Dear Future Ancestor" below, and read along with the text.
Dear Future Ancestor If I could take all your pain Wrap it in my arms And toss it into the depth of the Middle Passage Where countless tears have filled waters Stretching from Africa to these Americas I would
If I could take your rage And ball it into a collective fist And smash injustice into a thousand pieces of light Carving a path for future generations I would
If I could whisper into the soul of every black child Confused, trembling in fear: You are safe. You are protected Your #blacklivesmatter I would
If I could promise every black parent That nothing can assassinate the promise You birthed into creation Your seed will flourish, it must I would
If I could assure every lover that the body you hold Is sacred, is the peace of God, is a miracle Your courage to love is your heart's lubrication And though you are afraid, now is the time to love more I would
If my spirit could inhabit every body that fears you Illuminate their hearts, their minds, their eyes To the beauty of your Divinity Shine light on the oneness of our shared humanity I would
Because I cannot, please know these words... You are the King, the Malcolm The Tubman, the Truth, The Robeson, The Simone The direction and the promise Now
You are the feet that march, The bodies hosed and arrested The songs of freedom sung loud The collective action Now
You are the architects of freedom The late night camp meetings The minds that strategize A clear, precise, agenda for change Now
You are the rage and the pain You are the hope and the vision Even though your heart is breaking You are the salve Now
Future Ancestor know yourself It is when we are under attack that we must know The unlimited power of black soul It is time to mobilize and act Now
Future Ancestor earn your place Amongst the legion of heroes past Breathe deep, look inside: we are here In your brother, sister's eyes: we are here Now
Future Ancestor, Who are you? Do you truly know your power? Then, what are you going to do? Now