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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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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