Singing Dayenu is a 1000-year old Passover tradition. The 15-stanza poem thanks G-d for 15 blessings bestowed upon the Jews in the Exodus. Had G-d only parted the seas for us, “It would have been enough” we say for each miracle or divine act, thus humbly appreciating the immensity of the gifts. KB Frazier’s reworking of the poem addresses us, rather than G-d. It calls us to greater action for justice, saying “lo dayenu” (it would not have been enough) in recognition of the work still unfinished.
1. If we had sparked a human rights revolution that would unite people all over the world and not followed our present day Nachshons (leaders) as they help us part the sea of colonialism, white supremacy, and institutional racism — Lo Dayenu
2. If we had followed Nachshons like the youth leaders in Ferguson and not heeded the words they spoke from Black Liberation Leader Assata Shakur: It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains — Lo Dayenu
3. If we had truly sh’ma (listened) to the stories, pain and triumphs of our brothers and sisters of color without feeling the need to correct, erase or discredit them and did not recognize the Pharaohs of this generation — Lo Dayenu
4.If we had advocated for genocide recognition and reparations for Jews, Armenians, Rwandans, Cambodians, Romani, Sudanese, and all persecuted peoples — Lo Dayenu
5. If we had protested police murders of unarmed black and brown individuals, even with legal retribution — Lo Dayenu
6. If we had protested the IDF’s use of drones dropping tear gas and their firing live ammunition at protesters and forgotten that we are all b'tselem elohim, created in G-d’s image — Lo Dayenu
7. If we were to stand on podiums announcing that Islam means peace, that our hands shake when we hear of violent far off attacks signed with names that are similar to ours — Lo Dayenu
8. If we were to voice stories of women who were fired from their jobs, ignored on subways, pushed in lines, asked to leave in restaurants — Lo Dayenu
9. If we were asked to translate our names, our lives, the constant misunderstanding and the constant tired need to defend our right to exist, breathe, walk the same space and not be seen as unwanted, dangerous, a risk, another — Lo Dayenu
10. If we had marched, chanted, listened, learned and engaged in this new civil rights movement and not realized that this story is our story, including our people and requiring our full participation — Lo Dayenu
11. If we had concluded that our work is not done, that the story is still being written, that now is still the moment to be involved and that we haven’t yet brought our gifts and talents to a global human rights revolution — Lo Dayenu
We must work together to progress from Lo Dayenu to Dayenu in the coming years. Ken Yehi Ratzon. ◆
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