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Butterflies in the Hood

Momma told me I was a flower child,

But I had trouble believing it

Because our garden bed felt like it was embedded with concrete in it.

We from the mud, houses with no water and heat in it.

I bet it’s some black kids who know about putting water on the stove.

This a lifestyle. They not dreaming this.

How a flower gone grow here, ma?

Where the sun don’t shine much,

But the touch never left our skin.

Remind us where we came from,

To be black is to be nothing.

Wave a flag and plead a pledge that don’t mean nothing.

Serve a country built with bare black hands, on black knees,

Carried to the front line on a black back,

And still receive the short end of the stick.

That don’t do me justice.

Brown faces are made court cases,

Their lives in the hands of the judges.

They judge us by the skin that covers us,

Ban the books that uncover our truth,

But can’t abandon our cultural ways.

They adopt and manipulate our way of life,

But speak disgust of our way of life.

They could never be one with us,

So who are they to pass judgments?

When they have skeletons in their closets

They been putting us in graves

We are engraved into white chains

But we are made monsters to the public?

How are we supposed to blossom?

How a flower gone grow here ma?

The grass don’t get no greener where we from

When it rains, it rains, it pours, it floods, it storms

It feels like we’ll never see the sun again

Momma let her son play but tell him don’t leave the street

Having him in voice distance gives her peace

But the same street he play on he’ll lay on…

She’ll never see her son again

Gotta hold on to ya babies tight

Before the streets get ‘em or police kill him

That criminal they paint on the news ain’t him

That’s a false portrait

Adding more pain to a momma mourning,

The world will forget about him tomorrow morning

But the hood still praying for light, praying for life


A mother could never forget ‘em

The streets took my brother from me I’ll never forgive ‘em

A innocent child robbed of his innocence

I blame them

They the ones who locked us in this cycle of poverty,

Hate to see us prosperous.

Our demise is what they modeling.

Keep the wealth from black families,

That’s why that black boy gotta put down his pen.

Momma on welfare,

He gotta get it by any means or be homeless and hopeless.

The school system won’t get him there,

So he forced to turn to the streets,

Even if that’s the last place he wanna be.

He gotta go somewhere.

The system practically hands him a gun

Then puts a gun on em

And tells him to put his hands in the air.

That’s foul play.

They don’t play fair.

Ma, how a flower gone grow here

In the slums

That they poisoned with liquor?

Alcohol don’t got no age here—

Kids under 21 swigging rum.

You white people are pollution.

Y’all littered the corners with bums.

I’m bummed

That we can work until our knees buckle,

Backs crumble, and still be fed crumbs.

Ancestral depression, hand-me-down suppression, life of oppression.

And they wonder why black kids are filled

With aggression, anger, and drugs.

No, they’re not thugs.

They’re just kids lacking hugs and fatherly love.

Black kids hurt, too. They wanna feel loved.

Black kids feel, too. They only pretend to be numb.

Black kids hear, too. Stop telling them that they’re dumb.

Give them equity so where they’re going

Isn’t hindered by where they’re from.

They don’t want pity.

They want empathy or a little understanding, just for once.

Give them a fighting chance, or don’t give them none.

Just a little light in the darkness can grow a flower here, ma.

Even if it’s only one.

Yeah we products of the hood but that don’t make us hoodlums.

Flowers grow in the hood; they just don’t listen to us.

Flowers grow in the hood; they put em in caskets with us.

Flower children buried in flowers; they don’t come looking for us.

Yeah, we products of the hood, that don’t make us hoodlums.


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Kathi Badertscher, PhD

Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Kathi Badertscher, PhD, is Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Dr. Badertscher teaches a variety of BA, MA, and doctoral courses, including Applying Ethics in Philanthropy and History of Philanthropy. She has participated in several Teaching Vonnegut workshops and is a member of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. Dr. Badertscher has been a guest speaker on ethics in philanthropy, including at the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners – Indianapolis Council; Association of Fundraising Professionals – Indiana Chapter; and Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University, Tianjin, China. In 2019 she received IUPUI Office for Women, Women’s Leadership Award for Newcomer Faculty. In 2019 and 2020 she received the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Graduate Teaching Award.
Dr. Badertscher’s publications include “Fundraising for Advocacy and Social Change,” co-authored with Shariq Siddiqui in Achieving Excellence in Fundraising, 5th ed., 2022; “Insulin at 100: Indianapolis, Toronto, Woods Hole, and the ‘Insulin Road,’ co-authored with Christopher Rutty, Pharmacy in History (2020); and three articles in the Indiana Magazine of History: “A New Wishard Is on the Way,” “Evaline Holliday and the Work of Community Service,” and “Social Networks in Indianapolis during the Progressive Era.” Her chapters on social welfare history will appear in three upcoming edited volumes on the history of philanthropy, including “The Legacy of Edna Henry and Her Contributions to the IU School of Social Work,” Women at Indiana University: Views of the Past and the Future, edited by Andrea Walton, Indiana University Press, 2022 (forthcoming). Dr. Badertscher is also the Philanthropy and Nonprofits Consulting Editor for the forthcoming Digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, edited by David J. Bodenhamer and Elizabeth Van Allen, Indiana University Press, 2021. Dr. Badertscher is an active volunteer in the Indianapolis community. At present, she is a Coburn Place Safe Haven Board Member and a Children’s Bureau/Families First Brand and Marketing Advisor. Dr. Badertscher holds the MA in History from Indiana University and the MA and PhD in philanthropic studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

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