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Letters Last Updated: Sep 19th, 2012 - 22:41:39

Stand Our Ground
By Ewuare X. Osayande
Jul 13, 2012, 10:34

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Like so many of us across the nation, I was disgusted and outraged at the senseless killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman back in February. Later that same month I would learn about the tragic case of Marissa Alexander, the young African American mother currently serving a 20 year sentence for defending herself against an abusive husband. After participating in and organizing a number of rallies and teach-ins in the Philadelphia area where I live and donating to both cases, I knew there was still more I could do to help raise support for these cases and raise awareness on the issues they bring to light. As an activist, poet, educator and student of the Black Arts Movement, I know and understand the important role that art and culture can and must play in the mobilization of people in the name of justice and freedom. It is with this in mind that I began organizing Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander in June.

Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander is a book project on a mission – to raise $50,000 from the sale of the book which will be donated to both families in their pursuit of justice. As of now, we have put forward a worldwide call for poems that speak truth to power and call for justice, love and peace. Already, we are receiving submissions from Africa, Europe and all across the United States. I am most humbled and inspired by the support of poet icons and leaders Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Askia Toure and Everett Hoagland - all elders of the Black Arts Movement. Their contributions to the book are an affirmation to the spirit and purpose of the project itself.

In addition, I want the book to serve as a social justice resource of grassroots and non-profit organizations addressing the issues of racial and gender injustice and all their corresponding concerns. Toward that end, we are also seeking organizations that wish to be listed in the book to build a social justice network. The call for poems and organizations is open until the 15th of August. Information on how to submit can be found on the book’s website at

I really wanted this to be as much of a communal effort as possible. For those that are not poets or activists but would still like to support, we are raising funds to get the book published. For a donation of ten dollars you can have your name inscribed in the book and help us reach our publication goal. In fact, if just 1000 persons donated ten dollars, we would reach our goal and guarantee the book’s publication this fall. More information on donating to the book can also be found on the book’s website.

This book project is a labor of love for me: My love for my people, my love for humanity, my love of justice and my love of freedom. I believe that when we come together as one there is no power able to deny us. I believe that whenever freedom or justice is denied one, the whole of humanity should stand up and cry out. This effort is just one expression. I hope you will join with me.

Ewuare X. Osayande,
Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander

Ewuare X. Osayande is a poet and political activist. The author of several books including Blood Luxury with an introduction by Amiri Baraka and Misogyny & the Emcee: Sex, Race & Hip Hop, his latest book is entitled Whose America? with an introduction by Haki R. Madhubuti. He teaches African American Studies at Rutgers University in Camden, NJ.

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