United We Stand

by Jayla Reed, Odyssey Scholar

last edited on Thu. August 4 2016

We are judged on the outside
Without looking in
The situations subside
They begin to descend

The judgment has escalated
Throughout a broad race
They really expand between the
Black and White face
No explanation required
No reason or truth
Since when did “16 shots” ever become cool

We need to be united and together as one
A young black boy’s summer should always be fun
No more black-on-black crime
No more death to our youth
We all will stand together
We all will speak our truth

United we stood in the older days
Our youth should practice the older ways
Our black lives will always be put on the line
Instead of us hanging
We are shot in no time
We must stand together at a time like this
The shots were fired at our men,
And none were missed


Jayla Reed is currently enrolled in the Odyssey Institute, a core program of Illinois Humanities.

This project anticipates Conversations with the Collection: Belonging, a yearlong project that opens August 16 and explores ideas of belonging through objects from across cultures and eras on display throughout the Smart Museum’s collection galleries.

Follow the Smart Museum blog for a weekly look at the conversations, events, and works of art being developed over the course of In Anticipation of Belonging.