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From Halifax to Ferguson: Hands up don’t shoot!

by El Jones


August 19, 2014

How many more youth?

Hands up don’t shoot

The media hides the truth

Hands up don’t shoot!

What is at the root?

Hands up don’t shoot!

Black people still strange fruit

Hands up don’t shoot!

They tell us don’t wear a hoodie like Trayvon

Or your life will soon be gone

They told Jordan Davis turn the music down

Or you’ll be shot with stand your ground

Don’t cross the street like Ersula Ore or you’ll be slammed against the door

Don’t take the subway Oscar Grant, shot with hands behind his back

Amadou Diallo reached into his pocket. 41 times they shot him

Don’t forget Renisha McBride she just tried to go inside

So what are we supposed to do

When they say Black life just has no value

And what are parents supposed to do

But end up crying on the news

And let’s bring this back closer to home

Remember they spied on Rocky Jones

And they bulldozed Africville

A whole community they killed

And ask Kirk Johnson how it feels to be stopped behind the wheel

Take it up with RDS if they profile and arrest

And Fredy Vilenueva being in Canada won’t save ya

Because it’s not just in the States

For 400 years it’s been our fate

And now they executed Michael Brown

But it goes down in every town

So they say black folk can’t be alive

Can’t walk on the street, wear clothes or drive

And the media smears your name, calls you a thug

Says you’re criminal, on drugs

Takes rap lyrics from your profile

Implies that you deserved to die

If they allege you took cigars without payment

They leave your body 4 hours on the pavement

And when the community protests the shooting

They say we’re rioting and looting

Send in snipers on top of tanks

Who were trained in the West Bank

Surplus weapons from Iraq

Black community under attack!

How many more youth?

Hands up don’t shoot

The media hides the truth

Hands up don’t shoot!

What is at the root?

Hands up don’t shoot!

Black people still strange fruit

Hands up don’t shoot!

Didn’t believe us with Ice Cube

Now every day it’s uploaded to youtube

On average two shootings a week committed

But all the officers acquitted

Think it doesn’t happen here?

Then why does Truro march each year

And ask the pastor’s son in Digby

What happened when the undercovers got drunk in his city

That’s why we got to pay attention

It goes down from Yarmouth to the Prestons

And Black people are stopped 7 more times

Even though white people commit more crimes

Connect the violence by the state

To our increased drop out rates

And the violence and shootings within

When we’re taught to hate our skin

Poverty, school to prison pipeline, criminalization

Leading to disproportionate incarceration

And it just repeats the cycle

That’s why we’re in solidarity for Michael

But it goes deeper is the thing

Because you know they shot Martin Luther King

Lumumba, Biko, Malcolm and Cabral

They assassinate them all

Whenever Black folk start to rise

They gun us right back down to size

So we have to organize

Powerful when we’re unified

From Halifax to Ferguson

Organization is our weapon.

How many more youth?

Hands up don’t shoot

The media hides the truth

Hands up don’t shoot!

What is at the root?

Hands up don’t shoot!

Black people still strange fruit

Hands up don’t shoot!

 

El Jones is Halifax's Poet Laureate  Live from the Afrikan Resistance! is her first collection of spoken word poetry.


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