“To Swim,” by Zakkiyya Anderson

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
glass
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 a part 
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.