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UCLA Students “The Black Bruins” By Sy Stokes

Great spoken word video made by UCLA students last year, “The Black Bruins”. Listening to this poem reminds me of some of my experiences being a Black student at Brown University. Issues with representation (or lack there of), financial aid, admissions, perceptions/racism on campus, the drop out rate…. The struggle is real even in – or perhaps especially in – these seemingly privileged worlds of academia, especially for Black males.

Facts and stats from this video…

  • John Huggins and Bunchy Carter, UCLA Students and members of the black Panther Party were killed inside Campbell hall on January 17, 1969
  • The number of male freshman students at UCLA last year was 2,418.  Only 48 of these students were African American. 

What’s the solution? Well I think Sy Stokes touches on it when he says…

They don’t care about the cultural limitations
of being a minority in society

so we have become our own painters with our own pallets
and we have voices that speak defiantly.

So we ignite the flames to help us
find the path to our future.

Increasing graduations not incarcerations Transforming education
because our numbers can’t be any fewer.

So don’t be surprised if we become rebellious
for what has happened to us

when every Black student in class
feels like Rosa Parks on the bus

– Sy Stokes

This entry was posted in: For Readers


I am an activist, author, and teaching artist passionate about anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-imperialist education. I started Pens Up Press because I love to read and write and because I believe in the power of our people to liberate ourselves and each other through learning and grassroots activism. In conjunction with Pens Up Press, I manage the Uproar Poetry Group facilitating free creative writing workshops and supporting free open mic events. I live in Harlem with my dear friend Marcus Potts, my fiancee Xi'an Glynn, and my black cat Squeaky.

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