On March 27, 2019, spoken word artist MayaSpoken performed two pieces at the Families in Canada Conference 2019, We Shall Rise and When You Were Born.

Maya Basudde (MayaSpoken) is an award-winning spoken word artist, author, keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and program facilitator. Since winning her first poetry slam in 2015, in which she shared her story of overcoming abuse and racism throughout her years in high school, she has performed spoken word around Ottawa spreading a message of hope and empowerment. Maya is also founder of the Tell ’Em Girl Women’s Spoken Word Showcase and author of Warriors in Broad Daylight. She is recipient of numerous awards, including the 2017 RBC Spirit of the Youth Capital Award and the 2018 CBC Ottawa Trailblazer Award in 2018.

 


WE SHALL RISE

Raising our fists to the sky like fireworks on the first of July

We are sending out a message

not to prove that we are aggressive

but a message to the oppressive

that we will not be disrespected, neglected, or rejected

that although the system is a game, we are not toys created to be a part of it

That we have courage in our veins like it was injected

when we raise our fists to the sky this is the message projected

We shall RISE

Raising our fists to the sky with a diploma there’s a new aroma

it smells like success and it feels like greatness

it looks like beating down any negative expectations with a front kick

it sounds like “Mama we made it”

In a system not built for us to succeed

Indeed, we did, and we shall

RISE

Raising our fists to the sky in front of a congregation wearing all white

holding hands

side by side as tears of joy slip out of our eyes

there is a new message we no longer hide

we defeat the stereotype that true love for us doesn’t exist in this life

her in her gown and him in his suit and tie

promising each other that together

We shall RISE

Raising our fists to the sky with a bottle of champagne

celebrating all that is great

giving the opposition a reason to hate

understanding that success was worth the hard work and the staying up late

we tell everyone that said we couldn’t make it far that they were wrong

and that no matter what the odds are

We shall RISE

Raising our fists to the sky, announcing our victory

We shall RISE

Coming together celebrating our history

We shall rise

As much as the world will try to break us down

WE SHALL RISE

we’ve come too far to give up now

WE SHALL RISE

WE SHALL RISE

WE SHALL RISE

 

WHEN YOU WERE BORN

When you were born you cried a cry that looked purpose in the eye and said

“You are mine”

From the moment you began to take up space

the sun and the moon took turns sitting in just the right place to look upon your face

and be seen by you

You

with dreams big enough for people to yell impossible

You

who feels like giving up?

On life, on hope, on dreams, on love

You

Who the sun pierced through the clouds in the sky just to get a look into your eyes?

I know

It feels like the world is turning against you

But maybe the angels up above are shaking things up just so they can get a look at you

Why?

Because your very existence despite all that you have witnessed is proof that purpose listened

when you first grabbed a hold of life and said

“I got this”

Now even in the darkest of moments when the world doesn’t make no sense and your mind is full of questions

In comes purpose with a beating in your chest to remind you that this life right here is worth it

Full of beautiful moments that you just haven’t experienced yet

Laughs that your belly hasn’t felt yet

Smiles that your cheeks haven’t worn

Stories your lips haven’t told

And lives that are waiting to be changed simply because you decided not to give up on yours

So, when you feel like letting go

Remember that there is so much in store

And it’s yours

So, wipe your tears

And take deep breaths

It’s not over till it’s over and you are far from finished

As a matter of fact

You are just getting started

 


Published with permission on April 30, 2019