Black History Month: A Personal Poem Calls On Us to Open Our Eyes

02.17.17 By Carlita Salazar

Black History Month: A Personal Poem Calls On Us to Open Our Eyes

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.”

Related: Black History Month Recommended Reading: Blood at the Root by Patrick Phillips

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Fredi Juri March 3, 2017 at 11:53 pm Reply   

Amazing insight, that is ESPECIALLY NEEDED at this sorry moment in our history!

Stacy Frisbie February 21, 2017 at 10:16 pm Reply   

Beautiful words

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