Family Next Door
a spoken word poem by Ashley Lee
A spoken word poem. Watch the full performance here.
In Korean, the word “이웃”
holds a deeper meaning than just “neighbor.”
옛날 한국 사람들은 이웃들과 가족같이 친했습니다
Years ago our ancestors and their neighbors were one,
related not through blood
We cared for one another
rejoicing and crying
But recently, we’ve been far too busy to focus on our neighbors.
Occupied with school, work,
social media, our own desires—
whatever it is that distracts us
from the burdens our neighbors carry.
The same burden
Amadou Diallo carried.
An immigrant, he came from Guinea,
seeking to start a new business, a new life, but instead
he found bullets
41 bullets hailed down from police in his own home.
Trayvon Martin carried
a can of iced tea and a bag of skittles.
He was only seventeen
when he was followed back home
shot and killed by a man
who claimed he was just “protecting his neighbors”.
The same burden Sean Bell carried
just hours before his wedding,
officers fired 50 bullets,
struck his neck,
cutting off all circulation.
He had to fight just to breathe, to live, to
George Floyd couldn’t breathe.
For eight minutes and forty six seconds, he was pinned down to the ground,
pleading for his mother
Ten times too many he said,
It is so easy to turn away,
to ignore the violence, oppression, abuse, racism, and injustice
that’s happening right next door.
This is the time to rise up.
This is the time when our society, our neighbors,
need us most.
So stop ignoring. Stop turning a blind eye to
Breonna Taylor, to
the list of names goes on and on.
And start listening to the Black community.
Care, take action, fight for justice—
we will fight for justice.
And we will not stop until we are done.