Black History Month: A Personal Poem Calls On Us to Open Our Eyes
02.17.17 By Carlita Salazar
Valencia Craig of the Innocence Project wrote a poem last summer that she decided to share for Black History Month. It’s called Sometimes I See.
Sometimes I see
Things I would rather not see
Or know things
I would rather not know
Because I look long and deep
Where some would turn their heads.
There is always a wondering in me
If I too should turn my gaze away
And let more go unseen and unsaid
But I would hope there is purpose
In bearing witness
That progress can come from praising good
That hate can be deterred by naming evil
That these acts of knowing may bring change.
Valencia explained what the poem means to her.
“I think it’s about perspectives. A lot of times, the ways that something affects you depends on where you’ve been up to that point. So, for me, as an immigrant, as a woman of color, as a mother of a child with special needs, things carry different weight with me. I don’t have the option to turn my head and not see difficult things that are happening or to think that they’re better than they really are. I can’t look away.”
She also talked about how the poem can speak to criminal and racial justice, specifically, and how we must open our eyes, our mouths and minds so to transform the system.
“We have to be vocal. We have to use our words to do work. For example, we have to be willing to say that race plays a large role in the injustice we see in our criminal justice system. Looking away and behaving like everyone is treated equally in the system can only get us so far.”