I cry! — Wanda Herndon
I cry! — Wanda HerndonAugust 1, 2020
Home alone, I cry.
I cry for my ancestors, stolen from African homes
To suffer the injustice of slavery in America
Viewed as inhuman beasts of burden
I cry for my people who survived this shameful history
Oppressed and terrorized, their tears watered the roots of inequality
I cry for an American dream lost
Replaced by a Black person’s nightmare then and now
Only we understand.
I cry for members of my race, callously slain by evil
Ku Klux Klan, vigilantes, neighbors, and the law
Thousands still die.
I cry about poverty and destitution engulfing our communities
Unbreakable cycles of despair begun so long ago on slave ships, plantations
I cry, incensed by the murder of yet another Black person
Knee on neck, asleep in bed, jogging in their neighborhood
America is our country, too.
I cry because we are not welcome
We are tolerated by those who say, “It wasn’t me”
A perk of white privilege.
I cry because our sacrifices for America are unrecognized
And our deficiencies emphasized
Equality eludes us.
I cry because our ancestors died for my chance
Decades later, hate still festers and threatens our souls
The pain is too much.
I cry for justice.
Wanda Herndon, ’74, M.A. ’79, is a former senior vice president of public affairs at Starbucks Coffee Company. She is president and CEO of W Communications, a strategic communications consulting firm in Seattle.
Contributing Writer(s): Wanda Herndon, ’74, ’79