Black History Matters: A Collaborative Poem by Littles and Bigs of BBBSChi

Amanda Gorman inspired the nation when she recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” at Biden and Harris’ inauguration in January. Inspired by Gorman and NPR’s recent collaborative poem, we wanted to flex our matches’ poetic abilities while also honoring Black History Month. We posed the prompt: ‘what does Black History Month mean to you?’ to our community based matches. They took the challenge and ran with it! We collected poems from Bigs and Littles, and then turned them all into a collaborative poem.

Local poet, Valerie Wallace, read through each poem submitted, took a line from each, and turned it into one final poem. Valerie Wallace is the author of House of McQueen, selected by Vievee Francis for the Four Way Books Intro Prize, and the Dictators' Guide to Good Housekeeping, selected by Margaret Atwood for the Atty Award. You can read her work at

Black History Matters

A collaborative poem by Littles and Bigs of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago

She told that person, No!
“Equal Rights!” he would scream
and equal were all in his eyes

Now it’s me, my cousin,
or my Uncle Russ driving the bus that once
discriminated against us

Rosa, Malcolm, Martin, Sojourner,
Douglass, Du Bois, and so many
others, “We’re coming to change
America” --
That my family & I can go anywhere
& have fun. Every month
is Black History Month.

Though our lives are unique
& different, we all gather
& intersect. Great, wonderful feelings
acknowledging those
who fought for us.

What does Black History Month mean
to me? Like a tidal wave
so no voice is left unheard.
So we must do something
for today, for tomorrow’s history.

Black History Matters.