Trying to make sense of out something senseless often doesn’t make sense. I had the opportunity to meet Travis, as many of us did following the tragic murder of Breonna Taylor at Injustice Square Park. Whether you knew him by Travis or his nickname Cairo, whether you were […]
Hannah L Drake is a blogger, activist, public speaker, poet, and author of 11 books. She writes commentary on politics, feminism, and race and her work has been featured online at Cosmopolitan, The Bitter Southerner, Harper’s Bazaar and Revolt TV. In 2019 during Super Bowl Sunday, Hannah’s poem, "All You Had To Do Was Play The Game, Boy," which addresses the protest by Colin Kaepernick, was shared by film writer, producer and director Ava DuVernay, and then shared by Kaepernick. The poem has been viewed more than two million times.
Hannah’s commentary on life and challenging others to dream bigger have been recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama. Hannah Drake was featured on the Tom Joyner Morning Show with Jacque Reid to discuss her international movement, Do Not Move Off the Sidewalk, which addresses the power of holding your space. Hannah was selected by the Muhammad Ali Center to be a Daughter of Greatness which features prominent women engaged in social philanthropy, activism, and pursuits of justice. Hannah was selected as one of the Best of the Best in Louisville, Kentucky for her poem Spaces and recently was honored as a Kentucky Colonel, the highest title of honor bestowed by the Kentucky Governor recognizing an individual’s noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to community, state, and nation. Labeled as a change agent, Hannah’s message is thought-provoking and at times challenging, but Hannah believes that it is in the uncomfortable spaces that change can take place. “My sole purpose in writing and speaking is not that I entertain you. I am trying to shake a nation.”
To be sure, these White people are not 70 million Ku Klux Klan members. They are not 70 million people decked out in preppy gear walking downtown streets with tiki torches. They are not 70 million people with shaved heads and swastika tattoos. That is the idea that many people need to get out of their heads. These are everyday people that you would see anywhere.
As Black women we are challenging White women to have difficult conversations with their friends and family. That challenge doesn’t stop for Black women because a White or non-Black person is your friend. The foundation of friendship is truth and honesty.
It is because I am your friend, I am going to challenge you.
It is because I’m your friend, we are going to talk about race.
It is because I am your friend, we are going to address your anti-Blackness.
It is because I am your friend, I am going to let you deal with tough conversations, and I will not be there to rescue you.
And know, as your friend, I am not canceling you, I am challenging you.
We are just a few hours away from what many believe is one of the biggest Election’s Day we have seen since the election of President Barack Obama. For the past four years, we have watched as our nation has drawn clear lines in the sand regarding hatred […]
I cannot imagine going through this world and being labeled as unknown. The heartbreak that causes me. To die, with no name. How much more can be stripped from someone?
I am sorry that this city will not care enough to see you. The sad truth is, as a Black woman, this city never saw you in all your beauty and splendor. This city will only care about you to the extent it can extract something from you, and once they have swallowed you whole, they will gladly spit you back out. This city will never see everything you contributed to this community nor understand how your death left holes that cannot be easily filled with plywood adorned with images of your face. I am sorry that this city never cared enough about Black women to get this moment right. I am sorry this city failed you.
We will not “good deeds” or “good person” our way out of racism. We must fight and resist our way out of racism. We must challenge systems. We must tear down in order to rebuild something new. The people that are in the streets demanding justice are demanding it for ALL Black people. We understand whether you are a Black man or a Black woman, you can be a victim of police brutality. We understand whether you have a GED or a Ph.D., you can be a victim of police brutality. We understand if you wear jeans that sag to your knees or a tailor-made three-piece suit, you can be a victim of police brutality. Do not let your proximity to Whiteness and good deeds fool you.
Finally, it dawned on me; it wasn’t that White women were not listening to Black women. I believe White women were indifferent to the suffering of Black women. Essentially, White women didn’t care.
Understand, that life as we know it doesn’t go back to normal this weekend. We don’t have the luxury of pretending we do not see what is happening in this nation. We don’t get to ignore everything that is going on around us. We don’t get to sip mint juleps served over crushed ice as the nation burns.
For her son’s funeral in Chicago, the mother of Emmett Till, Mamie Till, insisted that the casket containing his body be left open, because, in her words, “I wanted the world to see what they did to my baby.” The photo of Till’s severely beaten and bloated body […]