Anthropology Magazine
Poem / Standpoints

Riot

A poet-bioarchaeologist of the African diaspora spotlights the aims of protestors who rise up against anti-Black violence, injustice, and white supremacy.
A young protester with curly dark hair and wearing a black shirt raises their fist in front of a group of people holding signs.

Luis Alvarenga/Getty Images

Riot - Listen
1:09

“The Voice of Diaspora” is part of the collection Lead Me to Life: Voices of the African Diaspora. Read the introduction to the collection here.

Her arm is pulled back
In the choking fog that boils past
Her arm is pulled back and ready
Frozen
Poised at the moment
Where a shattered piece of civilization
Will become a revolution

That gnarled oven-baked flesh
Of industry and architecture
White-knuckled grip on a path toward progress
For the scant possibility of justice
Thick with the pounding
Of a thousand and a thousand hearts
Screaming as one

Her arm is pulled back
Just before the release of muscle and sinew
Rippling into motion
Beneath the glistening brown skin
Battered by time
And bleeding the dark secrets
Reflected in riot shields and badges

Dina Rivera is a bioarchaeologist whose work focuses on the ethical responsibility of scientific engagement in virtual spaces, as well as the healing closure offered by human remains repatriation. She received her master’s degree from the University of South Florida and is currently the administrative and communications coordinator of the Register of Professional Archaeologists. Rivera is currently collaborating with a global set of professional archaeologists to decolonize and diversify archaeology. Follow her on Twitter @dangergrrlie.

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