Historical Poem Honoring Survivors of DV/IPV

  Published on October 9, 2020 by NYCAASA Admin

Remember My Name

 

When you remember my walk on this earth
 Look not into my steps with pity
 When you taste the tears of my journey
 Notice how they fill my foot prints
 Not my spirit
For that remains with me
My story must be told
Must remain in conscious memory
So my daughters won’t cry my tears
Or follow my tortured legacy
Lovin’ is a tricky thing
If it doesn’t come from a healthy place
If Lovin’ doesn’t FIRST practice on self
It will act like a stray bullet
Not caring what it hits
You may say
Maybe I should’ve loved him a little less
Maybe I should’ve loved me a little more
Maybe I should’ve not believed he’d never hit me again
All those maybes will not bring me back – not right his wrong
My life was not his to take
As your eyes glance my name
Understand once I breathed
Walked
Loved
Just like you
I wish for all who glance my name
To know love turned fear – kept me there
Love twisted to fear
Kept me in a choke-hold
Cut off my air
Blurred my vision
I couldn’t see how to break free
I shoulda told my family
I shoulda told my friends
I shoulda got that CPO
Before the police let him go
But all those shoulda’s can’t bring me back
When I lied so well
To cover the shame
To hide the signs.
If my death had to show what love isn’t
If my death had to show that love shouldn’t hurt
If my death had to make sure another woman told a friend instead of holding it in
If my death reminds you how beautiful, how worthy you really are
If my death reminds you to honor all you are daily
Then remember my name
Shout it from the center of your soul
Wake me in my grave
Let ME know
My LIVING was not in vain

 

— Kimberly A. Collins

 

In 1995, Remember My Name was written by Kimberly A. Collins — mother, writer, poet, English Professor, and advocate.  The poem has been used for years by advocacy programs across the country and became a staple of the annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Remember My Name was inspired by the testimonies of women Ms. Collins’ met at speaking engagements, the Nicole Brown Simpson case, and the quilt of women who have lost and continue to lose their lives at the hands of abusive partners.