Reflections on Imagining America: “I, Too, Wanted to Sing Praise …”

Shawntay Stocks is a Baltimore educator and doctoral student in UMBC’s Language, Literacy and Culture program.

Shawntay Stocks

I, too, Wanted to Sing Praise to America

I wanted to sing the praises of America

Celebrate the beauty of her

Yet, my heart laid heavy with grievance

And I could not just celebrate and dance

My critical mind challenged her glories

And required I share a different story

One that called her to stand up to her ideals

Because right now equal justice is not real

Justice does not stand tall for all

For some, it is invisible and on the run

And we chase it down so that we can be unbound

Breaking free of marginalization and chains

So that all have access to equity and future gain

Our America still has a lot of growing to do

And many of the poets exposed it too

We weaved our words and worlds on that Friday night

to drum beats and uplifting cadence illuminating our plight

Vowing to continue the fight

Towards justice and equal civil rights!

Contact the author, Shawntay Stocks, at

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