Jamara Wakefield ’14 Delivers Electrifying Poetry at the Women’s Day Rally

Among the thousands of protestors gathered in Washington Square Park on March 8, 2017 (including students from The New School) was Jamara Wakefield—poet and alumna of the School of Public Engagement Adult Bachelor’s Program. Jamara represented #BlackLivesMatter at the rally, delivering an electric performance of her poetry.

Says Jamara: “I’m not entirely sure how I became the BLM rep. I do know I am supportive of the BLM. What drew me to them was their work with Decolonize This Place, happening on campus. Decolonize This Place is a movement space, action-oriented around indigenous struggle, black liberation, Free Palestine, workers and de-gentrification. For me that is the real work of any movement—the work of decolonization.”

Read Jamara’s full poem below.

Performed at the #ADayWithoutWomen Rally Washington Square Park NYC March 8,2017

Today, today is for Today is for the Indigenous women.

Today is for the black women

Today is for the Asian women

Today is for the Latinax women

Today is for the Palestinian & Iranian women

Today is for the colonized women

Today is for the descendants of slave women

Today is for the lesbian women

Today is for the queer women

Today is for the bi women

Today is for the I don’t give a fuck about gender conformity women

Today is for the disabled women

Today is for the trans women

Today is for the poor women

Today is for the fat women

Today is for the immigrants, refugees, and migrant women

Today is for the babies and girls who will become women

Today is for the victims of human trafficking women

Today is for the women who believe in gods you don’t know women

Today is for the developmentally delayed and mentally ill women

Today is for the incarcerated women and their families of men and women

Today is for the incarcerated women and their families of men and women

Today is for the incarcerated women and their families of men and women

Today is for the chronically ill tired of western medicine who can barely make it to protest march women.

Today is for the HIV Positive women. Today is for the fighting with cancer women.

Today is for the women who live without health insurance.

Today is for the infertile who pray their bodies will work women.

Today is for the homeless menstruating in the streets women.

Today is for the low wage women who can’t take a day off from work women.

Today is for the I don’t eat because I have no money women

Today is for the standing at the gate needing you to swipe them into the MTA train system women.

Today is for the women who clean your campuses who you refuse to see women

Today is for the adjuncts and tenured professors that your colleges under pay women

Today is for the talked over in meetings women

Today is for the arrested for petty crimes women

Today is for the drowning in debt and feeling ashamed women

Today is for the single mother women

Today is for the married yet still have no help women

Today is for the sex worker women

Today is for the women I didn’t mention and am learning to know.

Today is for the women, girls and babies who had to die before anyone realized that

we too should read, we too should write, we too should vote, we too should live, we too should breathe as women. This day is for youuuuuuuuu.

I want you to not imagine a day without women.

I want you to remind them that the whole world would fall apart without women.

There would be no reproduction without women and I could stop the poem RIGHT HERE because

iF we no longer made our bodies available for procreation the world would literally die.

Please understand this is a threat.

Dear World,

If you refuse to see women, refuse to hear women and refuse to value women we will kill you by way of extinction.

Sincerely every vaginal canal, cervix, ovary and uterus on the face of this planet.

Can you imagine a world without reproduction?

Who will feed your children without my breast?

Who will solve your wars without my brain?

Who will care for all of humanity without my womb?

Imagine gynecological science today without the Henrietta Lacks women. The Black woman progenitor of the HeLa cell line the most important cell lines in medical research ever discovered.

I don’t want have to die for the world to know that I that my body is important.

Today we must to learn from the failures of movements that did not serve women and

learn the ones that do

Like the Gulabi Gang group of Indian women activists who respond to domestic abuse and violence against women. They wear pink Saria. They are FIERCE. They meet secretly. They protest publicly and loud.

Or like women in Argentina #NiUnaMenos “not one less” movement who march and organize against femicide after a 16 year old girl was found dead and buried in her boyfriend’s garden.

There are things that we can do.

All of this we must do because

Menstruation is still a global issue

Periods & vaginas are not dirty words

After all everyone on this planet was a fertilized who egg attached to the wall of a uterus, who fed from, and survived from a uterine lining for oxygen, nutrients and protection.

The next time someone’s face turns sour at the mention of your uterus

remind them that they fed off a uterus, received oxygen from a uterus were protected by a uterine lining.

We are life. We are biology. We are this planet in human form.

We are rivers walking. We the brain of this species.

I want my niece Rayna, my Niece Haley and all little girls to know they are worth knowing, worth seeing, worth saving.

They are

You are

I am

I am Nikki Giovanni Ego trippin on ya.

I am Anna Deveare Smith’in on ya.

I am Lisa Fischer riffing on ya.

I am Bell Hooks politicking on ya

I am Rickie Byars composing on ya.

I am Gayle & Oprah owning on ya.

I am Zora Neal’ing Hurston on ya.

I am Viola Davis getting away with murder on ya.

I am Venus & Serena winning on ya.

I am Doris Payne counterfeiting on ya.

I am Sandra Bland I’m ghosting on ya.

I’m Henrietta Lacks immortal on ya.

I’m the slave girl who wasn’t for ya.

I’m yo momma and Today is for the dozens on ya.

I am Jackie Joyner Kersee.

I am black gold and running on ya.

We are Jackie Joyner Kersee.

We are black gold & running on yall

We long jump.

We heptathlon.

We long jump.

We heptathlon.

We long jump.

We long jump.

We long jump.

We heptathlon.

We running cuz we black

We stand still yall still attack

We long jump.

We long jump.

We shot put.

We javelin throw.

ollie ollie oxen free

my skeletons don’t closet me

Today is for the y boToday is for the r you

Cuz you are afraid of we

we don’t seek malls we seek free

if we seek war it’s because we seek peace

we seek turntables & sweet tea

we dance in Today is for the rain and

we disrupt Today is for the day

we kiss each oToday is for the r and it’s not a phase

we dip hips set fires ablaze

we raise our fists

we are not afraid

stomping on Today is for the former

effing up Today is for the borders

living by Today is for the hope

of a new world order

bricking on Today is for the mortar

for our sons & daughters

no more tricking on Today is for the corner

for our sons & daughters

no more graves & slaughter

of our sons & daughters

we are purifying water

for our sons & our daughters

this is a love letter

for our sons & our daughters

Today is for the re is an illness among us

A germ hangs in Today is for the air we breaToday is for the

to cure it we must look more closely at whiteness an institution

America as a location

born from an inheritance of hatred that

stemmed directly from Western Europe

in Today is for the form of Colonization Imperialism and Manifest Destiny

and all Today is for the ideas that drive consumerism and capitalism. And all Today is for the ways I’ve been attacked and dismissed and treated with contempt in non-violent ways in Today is for the classroom or at Today is for the doctor’s office or at Today is for the grocery store or in an interview anytime someone decided I was Today is for the OTODAY IS FOR THE R and Today is for the refore I didn’t matter.

Who do you consider Today is for the oToday is for the r?

Which oToday is for the rs are you afraid of?

What oToday is for the rs are afraid of you?

If you think you can escape this problem

You’re already deep in something. You are already in it.

Like Funkadelic, I have tasted Today is for the maggots in Today is for the mind of Today is for the se times.

I am concerned about but not offended by my own complicity. I know I must rise above my own American-ness. Openly. Vocally. Woefully. Today is for the same way I must dive into my blackness. Emotionally. Boastfully. Globally

I believe in anoToday is for the r world in this world and I want to be in that. A world that for now I can only imagine when I listen to Sun Ra or read Octavia Butler or when I touch myself on Saturday night or braid my hair on Sunday morning and rub coconut oil on my skin and call myself a queen

to combat all Today is for the times, I am called anoToday is for the r in Today is for the office, in Today is for the classroom, in Today is for the clinic waiting room or on Today is for the train riding home.

In spite of all that I still believe in Today is for the world. I plan to stay a believer, like Curtis Mayfield. I understand that even caged birds sing That human bodies know Today is for the y are human That flowers blossom without permission and this is how I believe we should live.

But can we live?

I want to live.

I understand that even caged birds sing That human bodies know Today is for the y are human That flowers blossom without permission and this is how I believe we should live.