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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hope and the Hood

Two weeks ago, I shared with the Dream Keepers a poem written by a friend of mine called, "To be Old, Gifted, and White." The writer spoke about his experiences living and protesting in Milwaukee. From this poem, the Dream Keepers chose to write on the theme, "Our Hood." This week the Dream Keepers chose their theme from a line from Nikki Giovanni's poem HOWL: "Call down the stars to write the truth." The Dream Keepers live in one of the worst neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Their writing speaks this truth. Reader be warned: this truth is gritty, real, and frightening.

My Hood
by Brittene Harden
My hood, my block—you see a lot of things.
You can't even go outside without worrying about getting raped or shot at, getting told, "you got a body," or "I can't wait to do this to you." You can't help but think everything that goes wrong is in your hood. You feel sorry for the crack addicts on the street when you really should feel sorry for your self.
My hood, my block—a lot of things.

Our Neighborhood
by Natalie Branch
Do you want to know where I come from?
Where I come from, you need a blade just to walk down the street.
Where I come from, fathers are raping their own daughters.
Where I come from, there's a group of robbers, sex offenders, and peeping toms living right next door.
You wanna know where I come from?
Where I come from you have to prove how tough you are.
Where I come from you can't play with someone without it becoming real.
Where I come from, there are shoot outs.
You don't wanna know where I come from.

The Truth
by Natalie Branch
Truth is, I don't like where I come from.
Truth is, I feel like a dirty bum.
Truth is, I live in deep poverty.
Truth is, I don't even have a clean sheet.
Truth is, I smoke weed to think I'm cool.
Truth is, I hardly ever go to school.
Truth is, I really started to change my ways.
Truth is, I go to church almost every day.
Truth is, I won't go back to my old ways.
Truth is, I'm looking to brighter days.
Truth is, I'm free.

About All I Can Do
by Elisha Branch
All I can do is speak the truth
that is about all I can do.
Make everyone equal, like me and you
that is about all I can do.
Spreading the peace, me loving you
that is about all I can do.

My Vision for Hope in My Neighborhood
by Maya Montgomery
My vision for hope in my neighborhood is not to hear gun shots every night.
I also don't want to see boys on the corner 24/7.
If these things happen, less people will get hurt.
Also, we will be able to play outside.