How can I speak for someone I don’t know?
Someone whose life I have not led,
whose history I do not hold,
whose shoes I do not walk in?

How can I speak for hurting people
whose pain is their own,
whose loss is a turning knife,
giving them no rest,
no peace,
no space to breathe?

How can I speak for a race
that carries the weight
of the sins of my ancestors,
the chains of oppression
reaching back centuries,
profaning the planet with
a clung-to ignorance,
individuals daily sacrificed
in the name of greed?

How can I share
in the journey of a people
headed for a land I never left,
generations seeking a freedom
that is always coming soon
but slightly, slightly out of reach?


How can I not?

This poem was originally published at Lindy Thompson: Thoughts on this spiritual journey

Lindy Thompson

Lindy Thompson is a lyricist and writer who has collaborated with Mark Miller on many pieces for choral and congregational singing. She lives in Franklin, TN where she and her family are members of Christ UMC. She blogs at

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