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The Poetry of Black Lives Matter

by Sally Nolan


The names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed and more ring in our ears as life-changing events have unfolded in the past few months. It has left people with the urge to protest, to tear down statues and fight for justice.

'BLMUK photoshoot' (Connor Newson, 2020)

However, there is an aspect of the #BlackLivesMatter movement that has not gained much attention, and that’s poetry. Beautiful art has been created throughout this movement, and one thing is for sure: it’s not going away. I spoke to some of the poets who took pen to paper in order to express themselves on the events over the last few months.


If I Wasn’t Brown

Tania Caan, 27

If I wasn't brown —

Would life have been easier?

Would my dreams have been closer?

Would the streets have been safer?

Would I have been judged on my merit

And not on my brown skin?

Would my son walk without fear?

My pigment is skin deep but their hatred is deeper,

If I wasn’t brown —

Perhaps oxygen would have been cheaper.

Perhaps death wouldn’t always have to be murder.

If I wasn’t brown perhaps I would matter.

Tania is a 27-year-old South Asian single mum from London. As a freelance writer poetry has always been a way for her to express herself and heal through times of trouble. In an interview, Tania said: “ I think poetry is incredibly therapeutic for both the reader and the writer. It penetrates the soul and heals.”

In a statement, Tania added: “Black people have gone through an enormous amount of suffering and we as a society owe a great debt to them. I pray for love, light, and peace. I hope the world will change for the better and racism will be a distant memory but since we as developed countries are still fighting against such a backward mindset, it may be just a dream.”

When asked about her experiences of racism in the UK Tania said, “I have experienced several instances of racism throughout my life. At times it has been crippling, especially during the EDL rallies.” Incidents like this have made Tania worry for her son growing up in a society in which racism is so prevalent.

Tania added “I wrote this poem in solidarity with #blacklivesmatter and in the wake of the horrendous murder of George Floyd. My heart is perpetually shattered by the frequency of these heinous crimes against humanity. You don’t have to be black or even a person of color to support a movement that in its core is about something as simple as human rights.”

More of Tania’s work can be found on Medium.


I Can't Breathe

John Devey, 39

John Devey, from Preston, has always turned to poetry to vent