Olympic Swimmer Simone Manuel. Photo by NBC Universal Media/LLC

By Zakkiyya Anderson • 

Teach our Black children to swim

Take them to the ocean and show them life has no bounds

Teach Black children to read and to explore more than the outside of their broken door

Give them tangible hope

Dreams that aren’t just riddled in fables

Show them they are able

Give them stethoscopes and hammers and swimming pools and tennis courts and
chemistry sets

Let them see that we aren’t finished yet

Teach Black children their power

That every time they take a new breath they have defeated every odd that told them they

weren’t meant to be Gods

Give Black children the truth

That they are 1 in a million descendants of the original involuntary immigrants

Give them their smiles back

If they ever even had them

Black joy locked up in dirt roads for football fields and broken Crack rocks as crystal

The bottom looks so beautiful when it’s all you’ve ever had

Give us our streets back

We don’t need novelty sock shops in the hood, we need books that aren’t 15 years old

and playgrounds that aren’t falling apart

We need trash cans on our streets and community gardens by our homes

Teach Black children to swim.

And let them soar with the promise of a tomorrow

Teach Black children to fly

Zakkiyya Anderson is an Urban Affairs Student at Norfolk State University. DC Born, Ga Bred. She is also a Black woman writer and freedom thinker who has been writing since she was old enough to put a pen to paper. Her dream is liberation for Black people.

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