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Racial Equity and Social Justice

Materials selected by IU librarians and members of our community
Robert Hayden,

"Frederick Douglass"

Tribute to slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass by Robert Hayden. Poem first published in 1947. 

Read this poem online | Another print copy 

Gwendolyn Brooks,

"Beverly Hills, Chicago"

By celebrated African American poet Gwendolyn Brooks. "Beverly Hills, Chicago" first appeared in the collection Annie Allen in 1949.

Read this poem online | Another print copy

Nikki Giovanni,

"Nikki-Rosa"

Poem by Nikki Giovanni originally published in 1968.

Read this poem online | Another print copy

Audre Lorde,

"A Litany for Survival"

By Black Lesbian poet Audre Lorde, "A Litany for Survival" was first published in Collected Poems in 1978.

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Joy Harjo,

"She Had Some Horses"

By Native American Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. Poem first published in 1983.

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Sonia Sanchez,

"An Anthem"

Poem by Sonia Sanchez, from the collection Under a Soprano Sky (1987).

Another print copy

Linda Hogan,

"Landing"

By Chickasaw poet, writer, and environmentalist Linda Hogan. Published in Dark. Sweet. in 2014.

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Joshua Jennifer Espinoza,

"It Is Important To Be Something"

By American trans poet Joshua Jennifer Espinoza. From the collection There Should Be Flowers (2016).

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Ocean Vuong,

"Seventh Circle of Earth"

By Vietnamese American poet Ocean Vuong. From Night Sky with Exit Wounds (2016).

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From the same collection: "Aubade with Burning City"; "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous"

Billy-Ray Belcourt,

"the cree word for a body like mine is weesageechak"

Published in the award-winning collection This Wound Is a World (2017) by Queer Indigenous poet Billy-Ray Belcourt.

Read this poem online

From the same collection: "love and other experiments"

Danez Smith, dear white america (2017)

"dear white america"

By Black, Queer, Poz poet and performer Danez Smith. From the 2017 collection Don't Call Us Dead.

Read this poem online 

From the same collection, try "every day is a funeral & a miracle" and "dream where every black person is standing by the ocean."

Reginald Dwayne Betts,

"When I Think of Tamir Rice While Driving"

From the acclaimed Felon (2019) by Reginald Dwayne Betts.

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From the same collection: "The Lord Might Have Given Him Wings"

Natalie Diaz, Postcolonial Love Poem (2020)

*Postcolonial Love Poem

Second book of poetry by acclaimed writer Natalie Diaz about the wounds inflicted onto Indigenous Peoples in America. We particularly liked "The first water is the body" and "Isn't the air also a body, moving?" Collection published in 2020.

Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb (2021)

*"The Hill We Climb"

Amanda Gorman's powerful and historic poem, read at President Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20, 2021.

Read this poem online

* = community suggestion