In January of 1963, eight clergymen published an open letter to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This letter warned against King’s demonstrations of civil disobedience. The clergymen called on him to preserve the peace of Birmingham. King received this letter while in prison for leading a parade without a permit. It was no parade that King was marching in, but rather a display advocating for human rights. Thus, “A Letter from Birmingham City Jail” was born. Composed on April 16, 1963, in the margins of a newspaper, this “letter” addresses the racial injustice in Birmingham and in the United States. Now, over fifty years later, the words of King still ring true to the tragedies of today. Yet, through the many mirrors of society, we are often unable to see beneath the surface; we forget that injustice manifests in many forms. The lynching of a black man, the raping of a woman: they both provide vivid proof that our society still clings to power and privilege.
We have gripped this Earth So hard and twisted it into a pale shadow of itself. We washed away its trees And put in its place Places of industry Places more important then some dumb tree. But soon These buildings are left to crumble And wither away into a dead heap of concrete and metal. We try to justify what we have done And say that humans are powerful beings And a few bugs do not really matter But the only power we have is given to us By other humans Not by nature or the universe. Earth is forced to stand by silent As it folds into itself and deflates like a tired balloon. Someday someone will look out of their window And look at the trash blowing in the wind And wish generations before them had noticed this. We are those generations. We have a job. Let's do it.
I have a secret place tucked away in the deepest corner of my mind. This place, a forest with dark, stately pine trees brushing the clouds with their furry fingertips, it is a place that I like to walk barefoot through. I let my toes spread over the thick pine needles blanketing the forest bottom, and this magnificent tickling sensation shoots through my limbs. I tilt my head back and see a ring of treetops encircling me, I catch a glimpse of the big dipper and a shooting star seeping through the branches. The spotlight of the moon outlines my shadow, and casts light on the rough tree trunks I stand beside. I am tiny compared to these tree trunks. They are powerful, shooting out of the Earth, and I am only resting the palms of my feet on the surface. I don’t dig deep the way they do. Even so, I venture further into this forest, deeper, and deeper, until I am no longer surrounded by pine trees. My naked toes are sinking deep into white sand, soft as silk.
This world is too dark They say ignorance is bliss I know for a fact that it’s true If only they knew this What the world really was Their perspective would be clear People are crying for help,Can you hear? people, being used and abused People, being kidnaped and sold Some people grow old, not knowing what the world really is Not, knowing the PAIN people have gone through What HORROR there is in the society we live How many people had been put through the worst of pain for the benefit of others? How many CHILDREN have lost their fathers and mothers How many people been KILLED because someone in power didn't get what they want I can't tell you how many, because there is too many for me to count The system is messed up, it’s for the benefit of the rich and those in power The world we live in is rotten and foul, bitter and sour.
The first time I heard of the wave of school shootings streaking across our nation, I was shaken to the core of my being.
The second time, I was scared but not shocked.
By the third time, I was used to getting alerts about students being shot in one of the few places they should feel safe. And that’s not a sentence anyone should ever have been able to say.
I read the stories online. I read the obituaries of the students, who had opportunities awaiting them they would never be able to take. Acceptances into college, internships, places on sports teams that were robbed from them in a single bullet.
The minute you walk into the room... Everything goes away. And the only thing I know is- You. It's like a video game. Follow the mouse sort of thing. I have to be at your side. Every second of every minute that I can be with you. And I follow you around like a dog follows it's owner. I chase after you with the others. But in my mind they aren't there. It's just us. They call it cute, adorable, helpless, hopeless, ridiculous. But I still come to you, track you. I deal with all of it for you. And I'd deal with all of it and more if I could just be yours. And you could just be mine. And no one else's. Because I need you. And someday you'll realize how much you need me.
Can you hear me? Yes I'm talking to you The big guys (and sometimes girls or gender creatives) up top. I feel really small right now. I can't stop you from blowing up the world Even though I might die. Maybe if the sound of your own egos die down, You'll hear the whisper of my voice saying STOP Peace love and happiness Is it really that hard? We voted you in to office... Wait. No we didn't. The electoral college chose you. That doesn't seem fair. No wonder you can't hear my voice. Mayve just listen to the people The Americans. We the people who have no say do demand a better government. Ratify some amendments! It's hard? That's because our Congress is screwed up. Maybe we should make a amendment. The YWP amendment. I have some great ideas and I am sure you do too. I don't care who you like Trump Clinton
There was a police car parked outside the school. It brought rumors spreading like ink in water, twelve adults in the cafeteria, classes starting with hushed discussions, rumors, officers gazing through cloudy windows, students hesitating just before stepping out into the hallways, emails at 11:00 PM, forced jokes shouted in a crowded room, rumors, newspaper articles, fingers trembling from frustration, what almost happened.
“For the second time in a week, a potential school shooting was thwarted by a tipster who gave authorities a heads up -- this time in the town of Middlebury, Vermont.” (McLaughlin, Eliott & Chavez, Nicole, CNN World News)
From the first week of school, I joined a volleyball club. I wanted to be more active and this was a great way to make new friends and bond with those I already had. The first time, I was picked second to last by the captains. I was disappointed, but was like, "I'll show them my skill and maybe next time, I'll be chosen sooner." The next time we picked, I was chosen second. My skill paid off. I'm not a volleyball star but I love the sport and make up for my inexperience with eagerness and aggression to get the ball. I've been playing now for a few months and have noticed a pattern. There are a top six or seven white guys who are basically all MVPs and are chosen first while weaker members or less experienced players are given reluctant debating stares before being chosen. This is drop-in volleyball. This isn't the official team where you make the cut or not. The number of women who came to volleyball in the first few weeks were small enough, but now, only four-five of us are left.
If I looked into a mirror right now what would I see? I would see a sad, lonely face. Staring at me with a glare that projects hate, But means sorrow. If I let words pour out of my mouth right now what would I say? I might tell you a story, or a lie. But it wouldn't matter because you wouldn't listen anyway. If I went outside the rain would stream down my face, Mixed with tears. And this doesn't need to mean anything, So don't try to make it have a meaning, Because that's not the point.
I have been here for centuries. Through rain and storm. My leaves have been battered and bashed by wind. But all this time, I stood tall. You ran and hid But I was here. Now I am gone. You chopped me down. I fell So, so hard. Now you gaze at my rings. Telling your son how old I am. I'll tell you how old I am! I am older then your mind can imagine. I have lived through thunder And lightning. I have stood as proud as any tree. All that surviving Just to be felled By metal In order to count my age.
I know, My history may upset those around me. But my voice can give no apology. I know, when given the choice between red or blue, Sometimes the choice is not up to you. And I won’t just sit here and spout, About feminism, Femininity, Or Self Doubt. But in the night those monsters get me. Attack in and out of sight Wracking for a coping mechanism to pull me through the storm. thoughts that, Worm their way into my head. As sweet nothings left unsaid. I know, Men get raped too, Men hurt too, Men heal too, Men are thrown into social structure and concepts, Too, But this is not about, You. This, This is about, Me. About the twirling tendrils of my mind, Giving no leeway or door to hide behind. About boys making a B-line, For what lies on my backside. Little laugh and snide remarks, I hide away from in the dark.
How hard is it to be happy for someone and only feel the happiness? Impossible. For me, at least. I have never lived a moment in my life where that four letter word of death doesn't haunt me. ENVY. It screams out my name, Calling to be answered, And every time, I respond. "I'm really happy that you got the part you wanted in the musical! That's so awesome!" That's what I'm saying. But inside is a whiplash of sad cries and anger and judgement because it's not me. It's my own fault for not trying out, But still I hate and sulk and it's unstopable because it's bigger then my emotional being, It's my aura. It's my life and my fears and my laughter and my tears. It's all envy. And how do I stop? How do I just say something and not feel this? I can't. I've given up, Caved in, And somehow it's fine. Because I'm used to it now.