Black Boys Don’t Break




Respect and Redirect

STAND DOWN / RISE UP Respect and Redirect is an exploration of African Americans throughout Missouri’s history that have impacted gun violence.


Monday, February 18, 2019

President’s Day

10:00 Juvenile Detention Center (No pubic audience)

2:00 – 3:00 PM Gateway Arch National Park

Mezzanine (Public)

Free and open to the public.

Note: If government is shut down the event will be held at
Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 N Grand Blvd, 63103, 2:00-3:00 PM

This project is supported by Missouri Foundation for Health, Incarnate Word Foundation, Missouri Humanities Council, and Gateway Arch National Park.

To see Yohanes perform his poem click HERE


“Black Boys Don’t Break”

Yohanes Mulat


Black Boys Don’t Break

They aren’t allowed to take a break

Black Boys Don’t Break

It’s always go, go, go, no break


Black Boys Don’t Break

They won’t come to the wake

You need to wake up

It’s all made up


Black Boys Don’t Break

even if their breaking on the inside

they won’t break down,

they must stand their ground,



Black Boys Don’t Break

At least that’s what we think

I mean that’s what society allows


Black Boys Don’t Break

Because they can’t

They can’t take a break or

They’ll end up broken


Black Boys Don’t Break

I know how you feel

But you must learn to deal

Stay strong, I promise you’ll learn to heal,



Black Boys Don’t Break

We must be strong

So long as we breath

Until we leave


Breaking Black Boys

Deal in silence

So it becomes less real

They need not know what happens on the inside,



Black Boys Don’t Break

We cannot break

We cannot open up

We cannot speak

Or else we will be considered weak


Black Boys Don’t Break

Though they beat you with a melee of attacks

Stay strong because

Black Boys Don’t Crack


We are like diamonds

We refine under pressure

We are not glass

For we cannot shatter


Breaking Blacks Boy

I know it’s hard

But we don’t have the privilege to break

Because no one is going to put us back together


Brocken Black Boy

You cry out

Black Boys Don’t Break

But hide your brokenness,

Behind your body

Your soul lies in shambles

But your body remains still

Till it doesn’t

Till your message that

Black Boys Don’t Break, Breaks

And you’re left with your broken pieces

Hidden behind a veil that no one sees past


Broken Black Boy

Hides his pain

Though he knows its futility

But he does so with the knowledge that

Black Boys Don’t Break


Our history so rich

Of Black bodies immortalized

For never breaking

Even though this world tried to crush them


Some go too far lengths (langs) to

Produces poetic hues (Hughes)

We still dread how they treated Scott

Yet he lay foundation for abolitionist


We Missouri cannot compromise our integrity

We must be strong

You and I know very well that

Black Boys Don’t Break


That is to say what is a boy

What’s in a man

If not strength

If this boy does not break,

Then does he become man


What is to break

As if we cannot be human

Why must we be so strong

When can we be human


Why does it have to seem like

Black Boys Don’t Break

As if we are an object

As if we are something so far from human

that having emotions makes us weak


This poem be the gateway to my humanity

Where I tell the world I am but a man

And this man cannot be broken