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Woke is the past tense of Wake.

In 2017, the word gained new meaning and was officially added to the dictionary. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as: Aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).

The term was originally coined by the progressive Black Americans and used in racial justice movements in the early to mid-1900s, including its use in a historical recording of the protest song, Scottsboro Boys by Lead Belly. In that recording, it was used as a term about staying aware of the race-based violence a Black person in America faces.

#StayWoke often accompanies social media posts about police brutality, systemic racism and the industrial prison complex.

See more resources

Rose, S. (2020, January 21). How the word ‘woke’ was weaponised by the right. The Guardian. Retrieved January 3, 2023, from

Woke Definition & Meaning. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved January 3, 2023, from