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New York City, New York — June 6, 2020: Protestors gather at Washington Square Park in the Manhattan borough of New York City before participating in a protest to honor the late George Floyd who died in the hands of Minneapolis Police in late May. Demonstrations have swept across all fifty as protestors have taken to the streets to express their anger and frustration with the ongoing systemic problems impacting many of the Black community and law enforcement that police them. CREDIT: José A. Alvarado Jr.

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Caged Bird
josé a. alvarado jr.
Jun 8, 2020
Location: New York City
A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

— Maya Angelou, 1983

JOSÉ A. ALVARADO JR.

José A. Alvarado Jr. is a visual storyteller devoted to documenting cultural and social issues, as well as human interest stories in the US and Puerto Rico.
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