From the Author: Story Behind the Story
Hold Them Close began as a poem I wrote while crying after witnessing an act of anti-Black brutality. I wanted a way to sensitively talk to Black children about that kind of violence while also affirming that they are deserving of safety, love, and joy. However, the original poem was too heavy and I put it down. I picked it up again when another incident of racism occur. Again, I struggled with this poem and put it down. This happened multiple times over the course of a year – this repeated return to a poem that I felt was needed but was incredibly hard to write. When I finally felt I had figured it out, I could no longer remember which incident of racial violence had initially sparked this poem. There had been many and that deeply saddens me.