Friday, September 5, 2008

Summer Dream Keepers

This summer eight young people gathered at Atkinson Library for the first-ever Book of Me class. We laughed, we played games, we ate—but most importantly we wrote and wrote and wrote.

The founding Dream Keepers also met this summer for meals, reading, and writing. Here's a sample of their recent work. More coming soon!

A Letter to a Candidate
by Deanna Branch

Dear Obama,

My life is a continuing struggle. I was born and raised in a rough neighborhood. I've experienced everything from the loss of a loved one, being homeless, and having no electricity. My neighborhood depresses me. Violence and drug abuse are epidemics here. My surroundings make me question if anyone really cares!

I am old enough to vote now, and you inspire me. You were raised by a single parent and by you being an endangered surviving black male, you have overcome some of the same struggles I have. I believe you can help because you know where I come from. Most people try to understand but you can only truly understand if you've been there and you have. I will never take my voting right for granted again.

Deanna Branch

Sport Your Tribal Colors
by Elisha Branch

What happened to our joy and pride?
What gives us the idea and need to hide?
We used to be happy and love our culture
And focus on our highway to the future.
We all clapped when King said the words, "Free at last."
But children today aren't taught the past.
Today, we need to acknowledge the people who fought
And listen to the lessons we are being taught.
We need to go in together to be one
You'll surely find out being yourself is more fun.
We need to grow up and love ourself and others
And don't forget to sport your tribal colors.

I Know I Am Strong
by Rachel Coney

He breaks me down and says I'm weak—
When I know I am strong.
They call me tramp and slut and that ain't all.
They make me mad, they spread rumors, and I feel sad.
They break me down—
When I know I am strong.
I cry. He yell and scream some more 
And then he call me a nasty whore.
If I could just go away for awhile,
I can find my inner beauty
and tell myself I'm not weak—
When I know I am strong.

by Natalie Branch

You say I'm headstrong.
You say I don't do anything wrong.
But I don't understand the words to your song.
You say I have many successful goals.
You say I do everything I'm told.
But the words to your beautiful song are getting old.
When I look inside me, I don't see it.
When I look at my life, the words to your song don't fit it.
You look upon me as if I am some kind of angel.
When I look in the mirror, I see the sign danger.
You compliment me with a big smile on your face.
All the while, I'm just waiting to escape.
Escape from you. Escape from me.
Escape to a world where I can be free.
When I leave don't try to find me.
When I leave don't even think about me.
I'm not saying this because I'm full of hate.
I'm saying this cause I just need to escape.

To Live
by Maya Montgomery

To live is to love.
To live is to have hope.
To live is to have fun.
To live is to love.
To live is to love and respect others.