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  • there’s this place.
    you might know its name.
    you might have seen it mentioned in newspaper blurbs
    but not as much the stories held within its sidewalks & curbs
    that deserve to be heard – search,
    and you might only find critical headlines.
  • the city set ablaze
    the city slandered by slurs
    the steel city of robbers, raiders, stealers the city – adverse
    the city where poverty ain’t anomaly the city that’s cursed
    the city drugged with violence
    one of chester county’s worst
  • this is Coatesville.
  • you might know our name might’ve read what we connote
    but what if I told you
    you do not know our city of Coates?

    we refuse to be known as a city that’s broke
    this is a city of hope
    from Fleetwood Street to Lincoln
    from Harmony to Oak
    from Lipkins to Lukens
    steel hearts do not croak

    we refuse to be the city of the person who once was
    this is the city of people who do,
    the city that does
    indeed, this is a city that will
    not just the city that wants to be
    yes, this is a city of people
    like you and me

    so please,
    do not minimize us as a city between theirs and yours
    bypasses may divide us but that’s no reason to ignore
    we refuse to be marginalized, skipped over and forgotten
    our steel may rust but do not confuse our roots as rotten

    arson will not destroy us
    racism will not define us
    poverty will not defeat us
    headlines will not malign us

    there will come a day where you see red and black
    as more than color of our blood and the pigment of our skin
    because yes there’s this place
    you might know its name
    but you do not know us.


    our skies just as blue,
    our grass just as green
    we will rise,
    we will win,
    and you will hear more than what you’ve seen.
  • This poem was written for BYPASSED by spoken word poet and Coatesville resident Aadil Malik.

    Aadil is just one of the many community members who lends their voice to this project. We invite you to participate by sharing your own Coatesville stories with us via Cowbird with the tag "bypasseddoc" or by e-mailing project director Sarah Alderman at

    all images © Sarah Alderman
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