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Women Watch Afrika Inc.
A Poem by Alice Lovelace

Harriet Rising: Public Art in Atlanta
(Part 2 - A Poem)

Lisa Tuttle (left) and Alice Lovelace (right) at the grand opening ofr Harriet Rising in Atlanta, Georgia.
Lisa Tuttle (left) and Alice Lovelace (right) at the grand opening of Harriet Rising in Atlanta, Georgia.

Alice Lovelace (writer, performer and activist) and Lisa Tuttle (artist) have created a collaborative temporary installation public art project "Harriet Rising."

The project was created for the launch of Elevate /Art Above Underground presented by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program and Underground Atlanta
(August 26 – October 30, 2011).

On this page we present one of Alice Lovelace's eight poems for the project. There is a unique poem on each of the columns. To read more about the
Harriet Rising project, please click here.
  • Part 1 - The Project
  • Part 2 - Poem on the Women Watch Afrika Inc. column

Poem on the Women Watch Afrika Inc. column

I found your name inscribed on a prison wall in Nigeria
it was written in red tape I mistook for my blood.
When the government inquisitors arrived to beat me
it was your tears I cried. I know this because I know
you too have suffered hunger and the hazard of petite
despots tending and tilling fields of food you and yours
would never eat. I channeled your essence knowing
you define warrior brave, resilient and resourceful.
Your life was defined by resistance and sacrifice.

In Nigeria, the troubles of women run deep
a river of pesticides washes over our lives,
builds a nest in our wombs, shares space with our young --
these thieves steal nutrients leave our babies addicted to oil.
Against this we spoke out -- demanding women and girls be protected
against rape against child marriage against female genital mutilation.
Against this we spoke out -- that women and girls deserve more
than one meal a day. Women and girls deserve from their government
as much consideration as Shell Oil.

For speaking out we were persecuted, beaten and arrested.
For speaking out we were labeled traitors and malcontents -- forced to flee.
That is how we came to find you Underground, here in Atlanta.

We arrived armed with laws that can affect change. We come seeking
wisdom in community to support grassroots social justice.
We strive for the acculturation of immigrant and refugee women
arriving to the United States from African nations.
We struggle to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women,
to promote the social and economic development of women and girls.

We stand in the shadow of millions of women knowing
we have arrived at our ordained destination.
In our dreams you are the Lady in White -- you rescued us.

We act because you acted.
We align with your courage and will.
We are your stubborn daughters.
We resonate with your power.

Published in In Motion Magazine August 29, 2011

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