This Teen’s Blistering Spoken Word Performance Calls Out America’s Hypocrisy Around Mass Shootings

“How much longer do we have to deal with this shit?”

Saida Dahir, junior in high school and refugee from Somalia who electrified the crowd with her spoken word performance.Mother Jones/Al Kamalizad

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Seventeen-year-old Saida Dahir’s blistering spoken word performance about her fear of school shootings and the political hypocrisy that follows electrified the crowd at Salt Lake City’s March for Our Lives on Saturday afternoon. A refugee from Somalia and current junior in high school, Dahir tells Mother Jones that she wants to to address intersectionality in the gun safety movement that has spread throughout the country in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, massacre that left 14 students and three adults dead. She tackled everything from the racial bias that shows up in discussions of mass shooters—”If all Muslims are terrorists, what is this white boy?”—to the morally bankrupt political class: “We all know who is Congress’ real benefactor.”

“I’m a black Muslim woman, and I fear for my life when I am at school, and I fear for my life when a cop pulls us over,” she says. As school shootings continue to happen, and as she and her friends worry about what to do if a gunman enters their school, she is left with a question that serves as the opening of her poem: “How much longer do we have to deal with this shit?”

Mother Jones caught up with her after the rally, and she agreed to recite the poem for us again. Watch the video here:

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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