Life Ain’t Been No Crystal Stair

This photo came through my personal Facebook timeline this morning. I remember watching the verdict for the man that murdered Trayvon Martin with my new husband in my college apartment in 2013. I remember I had my hoodie on and cried. I remember how we sat there, him on the sofa and I couch and watched.

I remember how I wouldn’t feel that same level of rage until Michael Brown, Jr. was murdered one summer later.

My father was over six foot tall and ebony dark. He told my cousins the best way not to get stopped by the police was to not wear baggy clothes or hoodies. But, because I am a child of the hip-hop phenomena, I always wore hoodies. But, in baggy clothes, you wouldn’t know I was female unless you knew. Meaning, there would be something about my countenance or mannerism that would suggest I was female.

That being said, in the 6 years that have passed since Trayvon’s murder, my heart today is sad. Yet, motivated. I said on my personal Facebook this quote:

“If I gave into the rage, I could not breathe.”

And it’s true.

If I were to focus on every negative attribute of my life that intersects Black and trauma, I would never have hope. I would be bitter. Evil. tSad. And most of all? Unaware!

That’s what trauma-focusing does. All other aspects of life become alien to you. Associated with other people. Less real, and unattainable by natural means. You become both devoid and immune to light.

One of the joys of writing, of creation, is being able to take the dark out of your own self, and expose it. Wrestle with it where people can see. Wrestle so people can know it is not just them that may feel this way. This means like architects, we are obsessed with light. With making the hidden seen, or remain unseen. Or as Theolonious Monk and other musicians of his era would have called it ugly beauty.

The loss of a child is tragic. It seems much more heinous when done by a system called to serve and protect. As a parent, when you feel the world can no longer protect your child, a special disdain develops. You and them need to be a part of the world, but you remain hypervigilant. All while staying in invisible monsters they hide from–as well as your own.

Yet, the sun still rises most mornings. Rain water still makes flowers grow. There is still hope. From that, we can grieve, cry and laugh. Lord knows,

From The Crates (2016)


This post came through my Facebook timeline this morning. I thought I would share. In my former life, my husband and I ran a church for almost 3 years. When Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were murdered back to back, I yelled as loud as I could into the either. I am not in a defined Christian ministry role now, but I am an activist. Make no mistake–just becaues you don’t see me, don’t mean I’m not working. -JBHarris




From the desk of Pastor Jennifer Phylon Harris, mother of 2, wife of Phillip Harris (Lead Pastor of Spirit Of Life Church-St. Louis), godmother to 4, with a dozens of adopted brothers and sisters in Christ:

I am granddaughter of slaves, sharecroppers, moonshiners and hybrid transplant from miry clay to the marvelous light. I was never taught to be ashamed to be Black.

We are at a point in this nation where silence is felonious. The murder of black people floods news feeds and cable news networks with the greed equivalent to hogs being slopped. The time to be quiet…IS OVER.

Please see the following:

If you defend the actions and silence of law enforcement, support the NRA, oppressive tactics, and the systematic destruction of Black and Brown people, unfriend and unfollow.

If you believe #alllivesmatter but have no desire to truly apply that to all people. Leave your humanity key. Unfriend and unfollow.

If you remain silent when these tragedies of loss of life surround you, unfriend and unfollow.

If you believe nothing is wrong, you are complicit. Unfriend and unfollow.

If you take issue with clergy being involved and outspoken during this time of unrest, revoltion and change, unfriend and unfollow.

If you still need to be explained what white privilege is, unfriend and unfollow.

If you believe that police don’t need tell on one another, and the officers that do speak up don’t need support, unfriend and unfollow.

“Our lives begin to end when we stop being silent about the things that matter.” -MLK



(“Ain’t nobody free, till we all free. -Fannie Lou Hammer)






“We can do this y’all. C’mon.”
-J. Harris

From The Crates: 2-28-18

I am not an second amendment supporter.

You cannot convince me you need an assault rifle just because you believe you should be able to own one. I don’t care if you think it ‘infringes’ on your ‘freedom.’ I’m black, female and live in America. Everyday there is something passed, said or created that attempts to infringe and usurp my right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I saw this morning that SLPS is trying to suspend the students that walked out of class yesterday in support of sensible laws and gun control. So, only the white children getting shot and murdered in ‘safe’ areas of the country are allowed to be upset, scared and angry? However, children of color or minority children are just supposed to deal with unsafe conditions because the policy-enforcing bourgeois think they should be used to it and Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization?


It was 1993 and I was 12 when I had my first metal detector in my middle school-Yeatman Middle School. We had to walk through it every day. Girls couldn’t carry their purses to class because teacher and administrators thought the female students had weapons. By eighth grade, I had the Vice Principal take my purse (it was the end of the day and I didn’t want to go back to my locker), because I couldn’t carry it to class. Mind you, many girls start their menstrual cycles in middle school. My mother had to go to Yeatman to get it!

In suspending these students for protesting the same issue other students are protesting, you are continuing to tell them they are less than and deserving of violent fates and should be “used to it.”

You never get used to being dehumanized and learned helplessness is convenient. As my foremother Ella Baker said in 1964: