by Alexandra L., 14

You’re never going to know what it’s like to be black
You’re never going to know the pain
You’re never going to know why there are tears in my eyes
When another one of my black sisters or brothers dies
Because a bullet lies
There in their chest
As tears run from their loved one’s eyes
As their children and families cry
Because someone else
Didn’t think for themselves
And listened to the stereotypes and lies

You’re never going to know what the system is like
When black boys are thrown in jail
And their petty crimes have unreasonable bail
All because they want to bring home some food
And no one would hire a “black dude”
Because stereotypes call him rude
He’s the “issue”
Freedom from involuntary servitude
Is a joke when we still have privatized jails
People making money off of prisoners
Like hotels make money off of occupancy
All because they want to feed their families
When public education leads to a prison industrial complex
There’s no reason to wonder why
The U.S. incarceration rate is so high
In fact the highest in the world
They’ve caught us up in a world of things that don’t matter
They’ve twirled our thoughts
So that money comes before people
They’ve turned us into a bunch of emotionless masses
We no longer look up to a cross
On the steeple of our churches
We look down at our work
The money we could be making
The lives we could be living
While the lives we are living are lethal
We are living by fatal ideas
Where we work against each other
Ignorant of reality