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Derby West Indian Community Association

I went to baby clinic today, and brought back a bunch of leaflets and booklets. One of these booklets is a collection of poems. These poems were written by some of Derby's children from the Derby West Indian Community Association's Saturday and summer schools. Both schools are partly funded by the BBC Children in Need and Derby City Council.

Those poems are written to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. Although slavery has been abolished for 200 years, but racism still exists in this world, mental slavery may be exist as long as human being exists. How to fight with racism, and liberate ourselves from mental slavery, here is the poem Nobody said life was easy, written by Amoy Johnson:

When we are at school
Sometimes it can be cool.
Racism comes in,
Peer pressure comes in,
Sometimes we are bullied.

Look at our ancestors
Less we forget
They went through an awful lot
But yet they made it.
So let us loose our minds from mental slavery
Life isn't always easy
But we can make it.

We enjoy our freedom, we breathe, think, talk, and walk, day in and day out. We dress up in the morning, we say sweet dream to each other before we go to bed. Do people forget dark and icy-cold slave ship two hundred years ago? Do people forget the suffers of those slaves, handcuffs on their hands, chains on their legs and shackles on their neck? They were battered and bruised, whipped and killed, how could we remember the oppression, fear, and struggle without reading those poems?

Below is the poem Freedom, by Shenell Gayle:

I am the person you kidnapped and beat.
I am the person who never had enough to eat.
You feasted on your food.
You feasted on m pride.
My sadness and my anger is boiling up inside.
Handcuffs on my hands,
Chains on my legs, Shackles are on my neck,
Stopping all my movements and freedom to express
Our feelings are not mutual and we don't correspond.
Did you ask my permission, to put me in these bonds.
So now we fight for our rights, until the very end.
We are free from slavery and now we can continue to ascend.


And here is another poem I am the person by Alex & Shaquiel:

I am the person you saw and threatened
I am the person that tried to surrender
I am the person that you battered and bruised
I am the person you tied up in chains and used
I am the person you whipped and killed
I am the person carried and buried.


Quite shocking, isn't it? When American and Western people boast freedom and democracy, I wonder if they have any memory of their slavery. Their criticizing the bad human rights record of the third world, such as China, always reminds me of their bloody history.

They suffered physically from the oppression:

African people captured, put in handcuffs,
Legs chained
Whipped, kicked and punched
Shackled, depressed and in despair.
Bundled on a slave ship
Sick and sore from the lap of the whip
(by Amoy Johnson)

And they suffered mentally from oppression:

Our ancestors on the boat
On a long scary trip to the coast
With no dignity and pride
Identity stolen
And nothing to hide
(by Amoy Johnson)

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