50 years ago Bobby and Huey
met somewhere ‘round Oakland.
Today I find myself
writing for my community
wanting to say the things we
need to hear, but can’t get around
the echo of these Panthers
who said it first:
We Want Freedom. We Want
Power To Determine The Destiny Of Our Black
Community. We Want Full Employment For
Our People. We Want An End
To The Robbery By The Capitalists Of Our Black Community.
We Want Decent Housing Fit For The Shelter Of Human Beings.
We Want Education For Our People That Exposes The True
Nature Of This Decadent American Society. We Want Education
That Teaches Us Our True History And Our Role
In The Present-Day Society. We Want All Black Men
To Be Exempt From Military Service. We want An Immediate End
To Police Brutality And Murder Of Black People.
We Want Freedom For All Black Men
Held In Federal, State, County And City Prisons And Jails.
We Want All Black People When Brought To Trial To Be Tried In
Court By A Jury Of Their Peer Group Or People From Their Black
Communities, As Defined By The Constitution Of The United States.
We Want Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice
If anything I’d add something about the sisters,
the mothers and daughter
Who never hear their names
pronounced correctly. We want an end to criminalization
of our women and the violation of their bodies. We want an end to the shadow
cast over the sun in a black girl’s smile. We want her free.
Our liberation depends on it.