Brown solidarity for Black lives

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Editor’s note: This poem is part of our #SpreadTheWord poem of the week series, featuring work by Chicago artists based on Injustice Watch reporting. For more poetry in this series, click here.

The surrounding sound of shattering glass
The air, thick with angst
A chorus of hopeful chants
Sent electric shocks that shook State street.
Shouts of NO JUSTICE NO PEACE!
Filled the downtown corridors
Protesters, once pleading, praying for peace
Now refuse to ask for permission
As they clash with cops

        On Wacker and Wabash
They knelt
In silence
for eight minutes and forty-six seconds
But it felt
Like an eternity

        As the Sun bled behind the skyscrapers
The looting took over the night…

Logan Lu

In Latinx neighborhoods the street gangs,
drunk from pride and beer
Use their false sense of power
To protect scared businesses

With bats and bricks
They guarded stores
But their rage brought
Underlying hate for anyone Black
Residents, who lived, bought, and worked
In those neighborhoods
Became the innocent targets
Of anti-black aggression
They were chased to their homes
Threatened in their cars
And insulted in the streets

        But the neighborhoods did not let the gangs speak for them
When the Sun rose on the next day
The activists and artist responded

From the zocalo in Pilsen
An altar with pictures and candles
Frames the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER”

From a fierce bullhorn
Allies demanded an end
To the hate that separates us
They stood as shields

They marched on 18th street
They marched on 26th street
They marched on Division street
For Brown solidarity
With Black lives

For the gangs to see
That their ignorance
Will not be tolerated

They knew
Their work was not over
When the marches ended
They knew
It is time to take their solidarity
From the streets to inside their homes
And convert the tiring walks
Into uncomfortable conversations
And they knew
They are ready to fight their own families
With love and education
To conquer the hate

Luis Tubens, aka Logan Lu, was born in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood and raised in Logan Square. In 2017 he was the Artist in Residence at Oak Park Public Library. He has performed poetry across the United States including with the GUILD COMPLEX, Tia Chucha Press, and the National Museum of Mexican Art. He toured Mexico City in 2016 and 2018 at the acclaimed “Show Socrates MX” (2016) and the National Book Fair of Leon GTO (2018) and was featured in Puerto Rico at “Poets Passage” and “Gathering of Cities” at Libros AC (2019). He has also held workshops for the residents of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and students in the Chicago Public Schools. He is the author of Stone Eagle (2017) published by Bobbin Lace Press, Chicago, and he represented Chicago in the 2014 and 2018 National Poetry Slam.