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Ebony Reports from #MovementforBlackLives Convening

Ebony Reports from the #MovementforBlackLives Convening in Cleveland, OH

Between July 24 and July 26, Ebony Golden attended the Movement for Black Lives Convening in Cleveland, OH. Along with “We Will Win,” a digital story (click or scroll down to view), Ebony also wrote a suite of poems to document her experience and her recent thoughts on the movement for black lives. She lives in Harlem and is a native of Houston, TX.



Against Right Blackness: A Poetic Suite

for the political prisoners here and gone



this day

the sun is bright

our skin is brilliant black

our breath is light

and we are drunk on the possibility

of a new day


we do not revel in the inevitability

of death by your hands or anyone else’s

we float on this moment

suspended in the beauty of ourselves





what do you think

when some concerned citizen

calls you and says 1700 black birds

have landed on your lawn


you fearfully load your bb gun

peer from behind blackout curtains

sweaty palms clinch desperate air

heart skips beats like a scratched record

the lump in your throat a lodged

pound of limp cement


our eager orange beaks gayly

squawk during the twilight

awaken an uncontrollable rage inside you


birds in fanciful flight

primmed, poised, in full frolick

drink in the sunlight

drink in the moonlight

drink and drink twilight


your dry tongue waterless

as desperate fingers crack open

a can of pepper spray


we waltz



our nimble spines dodge your stones

our hands become sponges

our songs become a force

field your dyslexic trigger finger

a joke


we laugh and choke

laugh and choke


and know as long

as we can catch our breath

we will win


we find our loved ones in the black

light our faces doused with milksweat

sweet relief our eyes cry for coolness

our songs call forth revolution

our hearts beat black love


we swim around your

pepper and pellets we laugh our

technicolor laughs


you seethe

we fling our disdain

into the streetnight


you dream of yesterday and free

range hunting we watch your dribbles

of hate evaporate before taking root


we glitterize everything

parade our glamour all over

your peonies and daffodils


you shoot and shoot and shoot

and shoot and shoot

miss everything except yourself


what a paralyzing feeling to know

you don’t own enough

bullets to stop our flow




what would james baldwin do


become a shaman

write a blues balm

that beats back brokenness

and reminds us of our shine


become a cartographer

build a map

bless each of his children

with the coordinates to freedom


become an astronaut

build a black-love-powered spaceship

bless each of his children

with a one way ticket

to 125th and freedom


right next to mississippi delta

around the corner from the rio grande

across the street from the underground railroad

become a rogue tattoo artist


better yet

set up shop in front of lenox lounge

he would exchange prison tats

of the phrase love is the way

for liberation songs


i bet no one could stop him

i bet no one would stop him





what happens to a dream deferred



it comes back as the unmitigated gall

of fearless children who refuse to forget

or fit in or forgive or surrender



what happens to a dream deferred



it roots in our bellies an incessant

motivating fire

to make a new thing

a thing that works

a thing that grows

a thing that does not eat its young

a new day



what happens to a dream deferred



deferred dreams become tomorrow’s

seeds encoded in our dna


we find them

one by one

water them

one by one

watch them sprout

one by one

and dance defiantly

because they have done

a miraculous thing

like a purple sunshine

like the warm rush of nile that ended the first ice age

like a melody that buckles concrete

indeed a miraculous thing

like living

bucking back against insurmountable odds



Ebony Noelle Golden believes “we are the ones we have been waiting for,” as June Jordan’s prophetic line of poetry continues to remind us. Golden, a Houston, Texas native, works at the intersecting pathways of arts, culture, and education with individuals and organizations pushing for community-powered cultural change. In 2011, Ebony funneled her passion for entrepreneurship, youth development, culture shift, justice, education and the arts into Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative, LLC, a cultural arts direct action group based in Harlem. The company is named after her now retired mother, professor and community organizer, Dr. Betty Ann Sims. Ebony Noelle Golden earned a B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing from Texas A&M University, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing-Poetry from American University, and an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

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