Aya de Leon

author – activist – faculty – mom

FLASHBACK: The Original “99 Reasons” Poem

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a new 99 Reasons poem, and it followed the same format of a poem I had written in 2004, just after the presidential election, fraught with rumors and evidence of fraud, was called for George W. Bush.  People were in deep despair, and all I could come up with was a list of reasons not to lose hope.  I read it everywhere I went for months.  Here’s the full text.  I notice that some of the women writers I love appear on both lists.

99 reasons to go on after november third

a manifesto for the progressive electorate in the us


  1. because we still have each other
  2. because it was harder than this during plantation slavery
  3. and sharecropping
  4. because we still have undaground hip hop
  5. and blues music
  6. and organic produce
  7. and for the league of pissed off voters
  8. and KPFA and Pacifica Radio
  9. and because God is greater than dubya, republicans or the usa
  10. and for the people of Iraq
  11. and for the people of Palestine
  12. and for the people of Afghanistan
  13. and for all the people I love who are down with the struggle
  14. and for all the people in my family who are not yet down with the struggle
  15. and because it was never really about john kerry
  16. and for salsa music
  17. and timba music
  18. and because Sarah Jones is going to Broadway
  19. and for all the trees that have not been clear cut
  20. and for the people of Sudan
  21. and because Bill Santiago is gonna have something hilarious to say about this
  22. and because it was harder than this during active Indigenous genocide
  23. and for gospel music
  24. and gospel gangsta rap
  25. and for Arundhati Roy
  26. and because whatever they do, we can undo in time
  27. and because someone has to help us all grieve for all those who will be lost and wasted in the meantime
  28. and because someone has to protect Cuba
  29. and because it was harder than this when Japanese folks were interned
  30. and for bomba and plena music
  31. and independent media
  32. and for Toni Morrison
  33. and because the green party is growing
  34. and for all the conscientious objectors
  35. and all the folks who went AWOL
  36. and because it was harder than this during the Jewish holocaust
  37. and the Armenian holocaust
  38. and for house music
  39. and drum-n-bass music
  40. and for Danzy Senna
  41. and for the ancestors
  42. and the next generation
  43. and because we have dreams and they are not dreams of defeat
  44. and for jazz
  45. and I mean real jazz
  46. and because most folks in the world did not want dubya
  47. and for all the young people we love
  48. and for all the young people we once were
  49. and for the people of Haiti
  50. and because we still have each other
  51. and for dancehall and roots reggae
  52. and because they want to break our spirit
  53. and because they can’t
  54. and for Rennie Harris
  55. and because this, too, shall pass
  56. and because Puerto Rico is still a colony
  57. and because we have not conceded
  58. and for bicycles
  59. and bio diesel fuel
  60. and because Imani Uzuri’s rock opera isn’t finished yet
  61. and for all the folks at Guantanamo
  62. and at Abu Ghraib
  63. because same-sex marriage cannot be stopped
  64. and because we are precious
  65. and for soca music
  66. and for macadamia nuts
  67. and left victory in Uruguay
  68. and in Venezuela
  69. and to make love
  70. and for Barack Obama
  71. and because the supply of fossil fuels is gonna run out
  72. and because my novel isn’t finished yet
  73. and because it takes a long time to wake up a large nation
  74. and for Mabel Maney
  75. and because we need each other now more than ever
  76. and for Malia Lazu
  77. and Keith Boykin
  78. and because this is the only planet we have
  79. and because miracles are still possible
  80. and I don’t just mean the election
  81. and because a big part of our despair is really about some deep ancestral and childhood issues anyway
  82. and for Bobi Cespedes
  83. and because young people did vote
  84. and because people waited for hours and hours in the rain to vote
  85. and for Michael Moore
  86. and Bhangra music
  87. and because capitalism is actually declining
  88. and we noticed how desperate they are
  89. and for Asha Bandele
  90. and because we have a lot of grieving to do
  91. and just because some of us feel hopeless doesn’t actually mean that the situation is hopeless
  92. and for Mira Nair
  93. and because there is no shortcut to liberation
  94. and to heal ourselves
  95. and to heal each other
  96. and for Mos Def
  97. and to heal this nation
  98. and to heal the world
  99. and so we can be ready when the moment of opportunity comes for the deep change we all so passionately crave.

Copyright 2004 by Aya de Leon

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This entry was posted on July 5, 2013 by in Uncategorized.

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Aya wins first place Independent Publisher Awards for UPTOWN THIEF, THE BOSS, THE ACCIDENTAL MISTRESS

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