Grace Higgins kicked off the conference by performing the following poem.
mornings filled with such strong tension
that i buy black coffee.
and wince as i gulp it down
so i can try to blame my stomach’s queasiness
on something other than the morning news,
this isn’t easiest for me or for you.
the coffee helps me forget the sleeplessness
i awake to from each previous
are we alright?
a political campaign thriving off of hatred of whole races,
ostracizing any different faces.
how much black coffee do i need to drink before i can forget the sourness of society?
trying to avoid the pain of so much ignorance by putting bitterness inside of me.
mocking the disabled,
insult the differently labeled,
drown us in the progressive waters we have waded
for years, swimming forward slowly trying to stop the hating.
one step forward, six decades back.
people being killed because they are black.
something’s gotta be out of whack, cause
people pushing laws that simply lack love
and white supremacists trying to attack us.
oh, please, excuse my harsh tone,
they’re just decent people exercising freedom of speech
just like the black reporter fired for saying you should be impeached.
and i hate the taste of coffee, but i needed an extra large
the day you passed an executive order
banning millions of innocent people from our border
just because of their assumed faith,
i can’t stand this awful taste,
neglect everything the dreamers ever chased,
the feeling that our progress is being erased,
as if our voices are nothing but a hopeless waste.
when “we the people” only represents you the powerful
you feel tall, you’re just standing atop your tower, though.
and i drink my coffee trying to convince myself that
our society knows it isn’t okay to grab her by the anything.
but the words and actions you’ve taken do already ring
in the heads of our nation’s next generations
will you ever stop and look at the example you’re creating?
because we shouldn’t be teaching to grab girls and build walls
promoting rape culture and catcalls.
excluding people because of who they love or their skin color
whatever happened to loving our sisters and our brothers?
and that’s why i drink coffee,
but it’s time for me to stop.
because by using coffee as a scapegoat for my stomach pain
i’m playing right into this crazy, screwed up game.
i’m done turning a blind eye, chugging coffee, suppressing a cry
so please, listen to me now
we can make a difference even if we don’t yet know how
because if you tell me your stomach doesn’t feel sick from this tension
then you better open up your eyes and start paying attention.
this affects us. whether you believe it or not.
we need to stand up and share our own thoughts
your stomach ought to feel like it’s twisted in knots
so we’ve got to act now, hear the ticking of the clock.
it’s time this hatred and prejudice and sexism stop.
and to anyone who believes we are overreacting
i hope your coffee soon stops its temporary distracting.
you may not like what i am saying, but you can’t stop me
because today’s the day we spit out our black coffee.