A POEM BY BRITTANY LYNCH

The November 7 elections held in Minneapolis and Saint Paul were nothing short of historic. For those who said that our dreams for a more just and equitable community are “unrealistic” or “unattainable,” DJ Miss Brit has a few words about living a life reimagined. 

I stand here today
Patient
filled with gratitude
unwilling to flinch at fear
understanding the significance of today and tomorrow
because I am the manifestation of my ancestors wildest dreams

Somebody prayed for me to get her
This was by no accident that I became,
that you became

We find ourselves together in this moment
due to the willingness of grandmothers hands to find solice in one another each and every night in prayer
and psalm
and thanksgiving

I stand because my grandmother took a knee for me each and every night
barely even remembering to pray for herself
but taking every last bit of energy she had left to speak my name

So I wake up every morning with the intention to never let that go in vein.

So here we are
You and I stand in this room almost as time travelers.

Where in previous lifetimes to be in these bodies
to bear these skin tones
was to be undervalued
property
indentured servants
3/5 human
not worth a vote
void of choice
and yet filled with talent and possibility

People like me
and people like you
weren’t worthy of a chair to sit on
a fountain to drink from
a dream to live on
yet here we are..

Thriving. Rising. Shinning. Running. Voting. Leading.

 

People like you.
and people like me
were told to keep our ideas and innovations in kitchens and fields
confined to serving and cleaning

We were told to show our worth in external validation
told that our quest for freedom
for rights
for equity were unrealistic

But if Frieda could be unrealistic
If malcom could rename himself
If martin could dream in the midst of a nightmare
then surely we can too.

If Zora could create stories that never existed
If Ida B wells could have visions unrelealistic
If Barack Obama could run. Twice. And Win.
If Andrea Jenkins could break barriers
If Melvin Carter the Third could write his name as the first
Then Surely you and I could try to be at little more unrealistic

Such a time is this to question the very boundaries we’ve been confined to our whole lives. I stand here in this room
unafraid of unrealistic
unbothered by unattainable
unlearning every noose
ignoring every alternative truth
and every treaty, law, and declaration made without the people.

I will disengage with disbelievers
with opinions that declare people like me,
and people like you
unworthy of such feats.
cuz even when they tried to bury us we grew back like seeds

There have been generations of No’s that made it possible for me to say yes. Who would I be.
Who would I serve to not choose my dreams?
For such a time is this

As you reach back in gratitude for those who fought and gave their lives for us to be remember
“the race is not given to the swift, nor to the strong” but to those who run forward into uncharted territories because they know the baton wasn’t meant to end with them. Nor did it start when they began.

I stand before you vying to be the manifestation of my ancestors wildest dreamsYou stand before me because someone before you was willing to be unrealisticcourageous in a way that often seemed alienating

We are here because fear, as daunting as it can be was never bigger than the vision
because someone was willing to sacrifice and stand in the gap between what was expected and what is possible.
The bridge of change exists on the backs of those whose scars may never heal.

There are people who dreamed of a better today for you and I
knowing that the vision they had may never be realized in their lifetime
So here we are. in this moment with generations of possibilities before and after us.
It’s not enough anymore to be realistic.
It is our duty to fight for freedom
and to live a life re-imagined
Becoming the manifestation of our ancestors wildest dreams, and the spark of possibility for generations unseen.

Meet four of MSP’s newest elected officials who reimagine public office. 

Melvin Carter III
Mayor-Elect, City of Saint Paul

I ran for Mayor of Saint Paul because I believe we can build a city that works for all of us by betting on the limitless potential of our children, families, workers, businesses, and neighborhoods – especially those who have historically been left out of the opportunities our city has to offer. Saint Paul’s disparities in education, employment, and income are a direct result of decades of choices that have too often ignored, undermined, and sabotaged communities of color and lower income neighbors.

 

We can do better.

Phillipe Cunningham
Minneapolis City Council Member, Ward 4

I truly love my community. As a Black queer trans man, I had a lifetime of facing struggles alone. The warm embrace of Northsiders is unlike anything I had ever known. I will to do my part to build the Northside up. I worked in education, but direct service can only do so much. Systems and institutions often ultimately define the fates of youth. This experience, and my experience in City Hall has provided me with the skills to navigate city government and serve my community with excellence.

Jeremiah Ellison
Minneapolis City Council Member, Ward 5

I ran to collaborate and engage with the community that raised me, to have our voices be a part of engineering the change we’re fighting for in Minneapolis – the change that we have always deserved.

The people of North Minneapolis are owed a responsive and accountable representative. One who supports the small businesses in the community over the large developers looking to give nothing back. One interested in solving issues of community safety. One who sees our needs as a priority.

Andrea Jenkins
Minneapolis City Council Member, Ward 8

I ran because I have 25 years of public service and experience and I intend to use that to fight for equity, police accountability and reproductive rights (including LGBT Rights, Disabled Rights, Black Lives Matter, Immigrant Rights, Human Rights), and Environmental Justice.

 

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Contributors

DJ Miss Brit
Brittany Lynch is a DJ, poet, and entrepreneur who fiercely advocates for artists in communities of color. Her work exists at the intersection of media, art, curation and social justice, and community healing. She was named a “Rising Star” by WCCO’s Urban Perspectives and one of five “Influential Young Black Leaders” by The Star Tribune. Miss Brit has been awarded a Verve Spoken Word Grant, Beyond The Pure Grant, and Legacy award for her work in healing communities through art based engagement. Her company, Visions Merging, continues to advocate at the state and city level for intentional urban planning and development that serves its residents and preserves its cultural history. She’s a certified community coach and practitioner of The Orange Method, a practice centered in healing justice and Black liberation. Brittany is also certified community financial ambassador and member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. You can hear all of Miss Brit’s work come together on KFAI FM Radio, where she hosts the Wake Up Call on weekday mornings and Soul Tools Radio on Saturday evenings.
Line Break Media
Line Break works with artists, organizers, and advocates to craft their stories into powerful instruments for transformative social change. Together, we can refine your communications strategy and produce compelling media to advance your vision.