No One Speaks For Me

I stand with

the immigrant –
working without complaint
until hands are raw, backs are bent,
figures of enormous restraint,
these moral giants among us who
teach the young respect,
the simplicity of laughter, gratitude, hope,
grasping the true meaning of home.

No one speaks for me!

I cry for justice for

those whose skin
is darker than my own
whose loved ones
live with fear, some
no longer here,
too oft a target for lead, not safe
even in their bed
no fault, no crime; systematic bloodshed.

No one speaks for me!

I bow in reverence,

acknowledging lives risked
homes shared, bread broken
together with those hunted
hounded, rounded up to be
sent away – our scapegoats,
forced to carry the turmoil
we refuse to face
within our souls.

No one speaks for me!
No one!

I am white, unconscionably privileged,
yet at odds with prevailing winds
that bend the mighty oak
away from compassion and justice
to unrecognizable versions of itself –
callousness, derision, hatred –
rejecting common civility that sees
you as my brother, my sister.

The dream of the
eighty-one percent is not my dream!
……………No One Speaks For Me
I heed a different gospel,
follow a different creed,
exchange white ethno-nationalism*
and greed for the embrace of love,
regardless of age, creed, race, status or orientation
stand resolute, head high, arms outstretched.

No One Speaks for Me
But I speak for myself.

* term used by Jim Wallis of Sojourners

© Julia Penner-Zook, 2017
Photo Credit: Riccardo Annandale via unsplash.com

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