Six Black seventh graders at Washtenaw International Middle Academy (WIMA) were sent racist threats by an anonymous emailer last week. In response, high schoolers at Washtenaw International High School (WIHI), which shares a building with WIMA, staged a sit-in to call attention to the racism they experience in their school. A judge declined to issue a warrant that would allow detectives to pin the emailer’s IP address to a physical address, so Black students at the schools are left with a burden of anxiety that they ought not have to bear.
Poet Darius Simpson reached out with words of support for the Black students at WIMA:
I want to tell you this hate is new,
I want to tell you it will not last as you grow,
I want to instruct you on how to battle this feeling,
Instead I’ll say you are loved.
We have not met and I am rooting for you, still.
We’ve faced worse cowards and laughed about it after.
The moment we stop smiling the people behind keyboards win.
Consider the threat a sign of your greatness.
How mortals throw rocks at the sun,
Or throw shade to a mountain.
Turn every attack into a compliment. Not to diminish its gravity but to keep your sanity.
Fear has stolen more minds than racial slurs.
Cling to your power, draw from the strength that got us this far.
You, like all of us, descend from a people that refuse defeat.
We have an undying belief in your success and stand with you even from miles away.
If you’d like to send statements of solidarity or support for these kids, use the contact form.
Illustrated by JHC