The author (they/them) of “Talk Less” is an artist of many talents; they sing, they dance, and they act. They are in the 11th grade. They are thinking about aspiring to a political career someday. I believe that progress is being made by giving our young people a voice to advocate for social and racial justice. It is a privilege to work alongside these young adults and give them an outlet to be heard. – Barbara Antlitz
by a Dover High School Student
“Talk less, smile more, don't let them know what you’re against or what you’re for, you can't be serious, you want to get ahead, fools that run their minds off wind up dead.”
A quote from the musical Hamilton by Lin Manuel Miranda that entirely encompasses the killings of our people’s leaders.
Martin Luther King, ASSASSINATED, well i guess he should have talked less. Malcolm X, ASSASSINATED, well I guess he should have smiled more. Sandra Bland, ASSASSINATED, well I guess she shouldn't have run her mouth off.
For decades we have been told “you want too much” “you’re going too fast” “you should be happy for what you have been given”
Why should I happy? Why?
Because I have basic human rights, those rights from which you stole from my ancestors when you brought them here on crowded ships yearning for just a bit of fresh air.
Why should I talk less? Why?
Because I can go to the same school, restaurant, or water fountain as those that are a lighter complexion than me. But if I had wanted to do this only decades ago i would have been beaten and taken to prison.
Why should i be silent when mothers are crying at the graves of their babies who were shot by the men in blue because “they looked suspicious.”
Why is it that when Black people want to talk about their struggle and say that our lives matter we are told to GET OVER IT.
You would never tell a Jewish person to get over the Holocaust, yet you tell me to get over it when i speak about racism.
Then i come to learn that Hitler took his inspiration for the Holocaust from the United States and its treatment of Black and Indigenous peoples. And I'm told to get over it.
We hardly learn that Black people were used as guinea pigs in scientific experiments in the 1800s and 1900s because of our status as ⅗ of a man we were not seen as human.
Though the crazy thing is that you treated your dog better than us, but we are told to get over it.
I have generational scars that I will never lose.
I want to talk but I have a fear deep ingrained in the depths of my soul that I will not survive.
But then i think of the strength of my ancestors in the face of death and torture they retaliated.
They took up arms physical and verbal and they marched
Marched for the freedom of their future generations
They knew they may not have seen the fruits of their labor in their lifetime but they definitely did not talk less.
Martin Luther King did not talk less in any point of his activism every time they tried to kill him or jail him he became stronger until his untimely death and final breath.
In the words of Martin Luther King: “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
Well though i am not obligated to make that sacrifice for i was the oppressed, not the oppressor, i shall.
For I know that i will never talk less, I will never smile and consent to my oppression, I will not be content until Black mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters are treated with respect and dignity in this country.
Oh I will not talk less.
Barbara Antlitz, CAMP Rehoboth Youth Coordinator, works with Gender & Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) in middle and high schools in Kent and Sussex Counties, and with other groups supporting LGBTQ+ youth. Barbara can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.