I hope that you remember.
“1950, Puerto Rico’s first major revolution buried beneath a mountain.”
“1985, Philadelphia police sanctioned a neighborhood of burning row homes.”
The United States has bombed its own citizens twice. If you didn’t know, let it be on the record now. In 1950, the US dropped bombs on the Puerto Rican towns of Jayuya and Utuado. An uprising that ended in rubble, the U.S. reported the violent destruction as an “incident between Puerto Ricans.” They wrote it out of history. In 1985, the Philadelphia police dropped a bomb on a residential neighborhood where fire quickly raged through 50-60 row-homes, leaving 11 dead. Of the little coverage there was of the bombing that targeted the group known as MOVE, news headlines read “Police Drop Bomb on Radicals’ Home in Philadelphia.” They wrote it out of history.
It’s frightening to me that myself and so many others can go through elementary school, middle school and high school without a single mention of the U.S. perpetrated bombings on its own citizens. The strategic erasure of pain inflicted on the forgettable. A denial of deliberate sanctioned national violence. It’s frightening that so many people have never heard of the MOVE bombing. Where is the memorial for the U.S. citizens robbed in these bombings? Where is the remembrance?
Here, spoken word artists Noel Quiñones and Jasmine Combs demonstrate what spoken word does best: recall, recover, exist, resist. They demand that we not forget the U.S. bombings in Puerto Rico and Philadelphia, a history on which the country has preferred to exercise its collective amnesia. It’s time to remember the dead. It’s time to remember how they were killed. Through their chilling vocals, it almost feels as if you can hear the echo of the lives lost.
Watch. Listen. Learn. “Never Forget.”