Student poetry: “I’m Sorry They Didn’t Tell You, Your Life Matters”

Abria Franklin is a junior at Hope College studying communication with an emphasis on broadcast journalism and a minor in business. Franklin hopes to work as a news anchor and to travel around the world writing journalistic pieces. Eventually, she wants to create a talk show to shed light on underrepresented issues. Franklin’s goal is to give people who don’t have a voice a stage to magnify the issues that society tends to overlook or diminish. She has a deep passion for advocating for the lives of minorities in all realms. She hopes to promote, empower and transform the lives of black people who have been consistently hurt and broken due to a systemic imbalance that begins at birth. It is time for a change, and through Franklin’s artistic talents of photography, writing and speaking, she utilizes God’s gifts to make a difference in the world. 

A note from Franklin: “This piece is a response to the cruel brutality that has been placed upon African Americans at the hands of the police. More importantly, it expounds our weariness. We are tired of fighting a battle that never has the strength to reach the finish line. Deaths of African Americans are beginning to become normalized, something we bitterly accept and move on from. The value of our lives have been reduced by the standards of white people. This piece expresses the worthiness I see in my black brothers and sisters and the assertion that this battle will never be won until everyone initiates change.”

I’m Sorry They Didn’t Tell You, Your Life Matters

A beautiful Black Queen 

She shines like the stars in the light 

Has somebody ever told you that your future soars so bright 

You are light

You are love bathed in every inch of beauty

Our ancestors died for the roots that construe 

Me and you 

Those are some words

You don’t hear every day 

Tell me have you heard your hair doesn’t move the right way 

Your hips shouldn’t move to that sway 

Or here my favorite, 

You speak so well who taught you how to articulate that way 

My Mother. My father. 

The same people that have fought so hard for us to stay being their daughter 

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry they don’t see you the same way I do 

Has your light ever dimmed so low

You only have one constant mood


The same one they use as a weapon against us 

Why are you mad?

We wouldn’t be if you didn’t forget us, dismiss us

From every thought, every seat at the table,

Every word from within. 

I didn’t know that there’d be times I’d hate my own skin. 

To my Black Kings in the house 

You shine like Hades fire 

Dragons breathe out your mouth 

And please don’t tell me you doubt 

Your melanin existence 

And when there’s something on my chest you’re always there to listen 

You preserve and protect the beautiful Black lady that’s been fed so much neglect 

I give you my utmost respect. 

And I know your upset 

Of being mistreated, misleaded to poison waters on set 

Better hold your breath

It only takes one shot, and you’re left 

On the broken pavement face down 

Not a sound

Hands up don’t shoot! 

Are those really the words I have to say to stay alive these days?

Because I said I couldn’t breathe for 9 minutes 

And you still managed to misbehave 

My temple, as God said

Something so worthy only to lie in a bed. 

So I said it before and I’ll say it again 

These beautiful Black Kings and Queens built the soles of this land 

And I stand with my Brothers and Sisters 

I pour ashes to the fallen ones who’ve know no other 


Except for one where we have to fight 

Everyday to receive the same rights 

That so many white people have taken away

So many white people who have led us astray 

Politicians and teachers who don’t know the way

To admit they made a mistake. 

Is it really that hard to count us as one?

There’s room for everybody underneath God’s sun. 

We shouldn’t fight for a seat

I shouldn’t fight for my life 

We shouldn’t pick up any blood that lingers on your knife. 

To all of my white people 

Look me in the eyes 

Do you believe Black Lives Matter? 

Do you feel the pain we feel inside? 

To my Black Brothers and Sisters

Listen to me when I speak 

Your Lives Matter 

No Justice No Peace.

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