The city that exists today

Is not the one my grandparents dreamed

We could grow up in

They hoped we would be surrounded by the culture they worked hard to instill inside of their sons

Sending them to primarily black schools

But less than 30 years later

Black students are left searching the classroom on the first day

Praying to God there would be someone who looks like me in my class

Just this year. I’m begging

But the city they knew was dying well before them

And I know that if they rose from their grave

They could not recognize the blocks they raised their sons on

The place where their old homes lay

Have been replaced with yoga studios and shops

And the same blocks where they had to be home before the streetlights

Because the risk for three young black men in this city

Was too high

For them to wander too far from their neighborhood

And even staying close

Was risky

And the same cops who harrassed their sons

Grew old and trained the ones

Who now refer to my friends as boy

Instead of the sir that

Their 20 years of life has gained them the respect to have

Questioning what they are doing out so late

In a neighborhood that once belonged to their parents

But now belongs to more black lives matter signs

Than it does black people

Because redlining stole entire homes from under our feet

And replaced it with entertainment venues

Because capital is much more important

Than black humanity

And the business that once existed to support their community

Can no longer exist

Because the community has been forced to out of a place

They were truly never welcomed in to begin with

And sometimes time is not a healer

But a chance for history to repeat itself

For gentrification is just a fancy word

For modern colonization





Author: Jasmine Barber
Email: Jasminebarber8@gmail.com
Author Bio: My name is Jasmine Barber. I am 20 years old and a black poet who lives in Portland, Oregon.
Link to social media or website: Instagram @poetryfromj



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