Monday, January 19, 2009

Visions and Dreams

The Dream Keepers has been on break since mid-December. We come back together on Monday to write and vision our next year of writing together. I'll be sure to let you know what we come up with! Until then, I wanted to share with you some of the poems and essays the Dream Keepers wrote in December. This work was written in response to essays we read in The Freedom Writers Diary. As you read the poems and essays, remember that most of these are not personal declarations but creative works. The students are using their imagination to create characters and situations. But we start with an essay from one of the students about our new president, Barack Obama.

Our President
by Gregory Byrd

Wow, finally a black president. I really do hope Mr. Obama makes a change in the society. The economy really needs work. I know that's President Obama's first job. I really worry people won't even listen to President Obama. I mean, like, the important stuff he is saying. Some people won't do their part. They did half by voting but it is not done yet. 
Global warming—that's also a big priority. You have to protect the earth. 
Violence. It is so sad—how people have no conscience. They do anything that comes to mind. The violence in American needs to go down. Also, in other countries. 
Drugs, I don't understand why there are drugs in America. If I was president, I would do something to make sure that no drugs get smuggled into America. 
I was listening to some music that really made me stop and think. The person said and I quote, "What the fu** would you bring my neighbor to jail, because the reason he live next door to me, ain't the reason why I live next door to him." That really made me stop and think. The topic he was talking about was drugs. He was talking about the jails are filled with drug dealers, but the streets are filled with sex offenders, rapists, serial killers, etc. He also said, "Meaning, he didn't rap his way to get to my neighborhood. He sold crack cocaine to get to my neighborhood. You move him out, bring him to jail for life. Then you move in a sex offenders and give me one of those papers." I really hope the President can fix that. Because we don't need rapists and people like that on streets where there are little children walking around. I don't get it, when they put a sex offender back on the street. That makes me really mad. 

Get Your Life Together
by Deanna Branch

You lie
You steal
And then you pass judgment on me.
Get your life together!

You make my mom cry
You make her stress
And then you hell her your "what's best."
Get your life together.

You drink
You cuss
You start arguments and fights
And then you try to make it right.
Get your life together!

You got a fake GED
You didn't go to college
So please stop tryin' to spit knowledge
Get your life together!

My mom says she loves you
You say you love her
So if you want to make it work
You have to
Get your life together!

The Hood
by Aliza Mendoza

We have different ways
to show who we are.
Tattoos, clothes, colors
even the glock I got strapped.
If you want respect
you got to go get it.
If one of us is in trouble
then it's all of us on the line.
We protect our own.
From injustice that people push on us.
You hear our sorrow
on the streets.
The screaming and crying.
We can't escape it,
even if we try.
They tell us to deal with 
this pain.
And we do
By protecting our own.
School won't help you.
It only slows you down.
Gotta make those stacks
to feed momma's kids.
We are remembered
When we protect our own.
As I run
I can hear my heart beat
"I can't get caught."
Can't risk losing time.
I spin around 
and squeezed my finger
on that cold 9 mm
Being in the game
It didn't phase me.
One cop went down, 
seeing his blood
paint the cement.
I ain't no killer.
Just tryin'
to protect my own.

You're Good If ...
by Elisha Branch

You're good if you're straight and 
you're bad if you're gay.
Why does it always have to be that way?
I don't care if I die or live another day.
Why does it have to be that way?
Children in detention center not seeing the light of day--
Why does it always have to be that way?
Parents yelling at children and not caring what they say.
Why does it always have to be that way?
Kids with nowhere to go so they just stay on the street and stray.
Why does it always have to be that way?
Gifted and talented brains sitting there waiting to decay.
Why does it always have to be that way.
So I'm just sitting there waiting on someone to say.
Why does it always have to be that way?
When our main problem is a failure to realize at the end of the day
That it doesn't always have to be that way.

by Aliza Mendoza

We wipe away
the sweat from our brow.
to the max.
The ache in our backs
matters not,
Only the check
we soon receive.
Day after day
night after night
everything seems the same.
Our work is tough
the pay is never fair
and we are the ones
who build this nation.
You give us breaks
and sometimes raises.
But for what?
To keep our mouths shut
about what you do.
You watch us with cameras
to record everything we do.
If something goes wrong.
It's not one of us.
Is it worth it?
Of course!
To feed our families
and keep us alive.
Don't worry, we won't talk
Just don't forget, without us
you're nothing.