Who Are We? A Poem for May 1st

I wrote this–fast and easily–copied sometimes word for word from my notes from a non-violent protest class led by lifelong activist Marv Davidov who was a guest professor at Carleton College my sophomore year in the spring of 1997. This particular day he was just retelling stories about life as an activist, mainly during the early days in the South during the civil rights protests.  This past February Marv passed away in Minnesota from a long struggle with cancer.  Though I haven’t seen or spoken to him since that class more than a decade ago, his story and life made a huge impression on me and I have thought of him often in the years since, particularly as we’ve followed and become involved in the rising Occupy movement. I am proud to have known him and thank him for the inspiration.

Marv Davidov photo credit: Media Mike Hazard

 

Who are we?

we sit down at the lunchcounter
we get on the bus
we cross the line into the white side
we walk at our own pace
we burn our sacred draftcards

we let them know shotguns are not our style

we sing songs of peace and freedom
we bang pots and pans of protection
we insist on no more violence
we go to the capital and stay late
we stand out in the cold

we put our bodies on the line

we don’t know what will happen
we are spiritual, moral and subversive
we live our deepest beliefs in public
we act upon thoughts
we turn research into day to day action

we demand the truth be known

we are yelled at and spit upon
we are prodded brutally like cattle
we are dragged off in handcuffs
we have cigarette burns on our necks
we eat grits in prison.

we have life transforming experiences

we feel the warmth of blessed human solidarity
we keep coming back
we are everywhere
we are the people

we live it up!

 

By Kristin Hutchinson
3/10/97

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