May 20

Hey Politicians

Hey politicians.

Let's talk about something.

It's no longer an elephant in the room.
It's a elephant dancing on the chests of kindergarteners
making them choke for air.

The eyes of America's next generation
are rolling back in their heads
like your cups of tea roll in their saucers
as you sip idly and watch the news.

A sister's name is ment for soft goodnights,
something to slip between burst of laughter.
Not something to scream in terror
because the alarms are going off and you forgot to tell her you loved her.

When we said we wanted to live in a storybook,
we didn't mean some twisted dystopian
where we get shot at while learning.

Maybe you're not seeing clearly
because of all the blood and coins
covering up the truth.

How come we've seen so many "Child Dead" headlines
our minds have built up such an immunity to them
Mar 30

I Don't Want To Be Scared Anymore

I don't want to be scared anymore.
Is that too much to ask for,
in the land of possibility?

I don't want to be scared
of the drills in our school,
where the lights go off,
and the door is locked.
Where we cower in a corner,
and I'm pretty sure that this is just a drill,
because my school is safe.
In a small rural Vermont town,
that's what I think.
Except,
a gun threat was made
close enough to home to have me worried.
A threat,
at a school,
where close friends of mine
were supposed to go not even a week later.
So how can I believe that my school safe after that?
I can't.
Last year it was 15,000 people.
How many will it be this year?
And as I sit hiding in a corner, in the dark,
while people whisper when the teacher isn't looking,
I take a deep breath.
I try to remember
if I said hi to my friends in the halls...
Mar 29

Our Gun Show Debate


This was a convesation Writers For Change had with a community member (we are keeping his name unknown for privacy reasons) who organized a gun show in Essex Jct. the weekend of the 17th of March. This particular conversation has left us even more disappointed about some of the gun issues happening right here in our own Vermont commmunities. It made us outraged that some adults wouldn't take us seriously and felt it necessary to call us dispariging names. 

Here is the conversation we had over email: 



Dear Mr. *****, 

We are writing to talk to you about your organization of the 2018 Gun Show. We would like to bring up some important issues.
Mar 25

We know

I am twelve years old.
I stand with every other person
willing to say enough,
and who will be a face of
our generation.
They say
that we don't know what we're talking about.
They say
we're too young to understand.

We say
shut up.
Who
has been taking charge?
Who
has been there to see their own friends,
neighbors,
classmates
die in their own school?
Who
is faced with the thought
that any day,
any kid, faculty member, adult,
could be slaughtered?
That their name
could be just another
on a list that has become far,
far too long?

WE knew
the shooter who attacked Marjory Douglas High School
was dangerous.

WE knew
that we could not just stand still and silent
while shootings are occurring
more and more often,
and closer,
and closer together.

We know
Mar 24

What I Remember

I remember
six years ago
sitting at the dinner table
staring wide eyed at my parents
who were telling me that today,
20 kids my age
had been shot and killed.
At school.
And I remember
walking into school the next day,
glancing at the classroom door every so often
in half hearted anticipation
of a man bursting in with a gun.
I was in second grade.

I remember
three years ago
kneeling on the carpet in my classroom
fear pumping through my veins
as my teacher told our class what to do
if a shooter broke in.
I remember her words,
telling us that if we were in the bathroom during an alarm,
to stand on the toilet
so they couldn’t see our feet.
And I remember
avoiding the bathroom
and nearly wetting my pants every day
because I was absolutely terrified
of getting stuck in there alone.
I was in fourth grade.
Mar 23

The Science of Desperation


how does a wall serve to unite
when the very imagination of it
is tearing us apart?

How does a wall keep us safe
when there are tunnels
and ladders?

You do not understand
how desperate people
will risk anything
for a chance.
of a better life in
a richer country.

Desperation will climb the boundaries
and break down the walls
in its way.

because people desperate to feed their
starving families do not
stop and turn around at the sight
of a wall.

A teenager who doesn’t want to live life
in fear of being gunned down
by gangs that roam the streets
will not stop in sight of a wall.

A mother trying to get her children
a better life will not stop at
the sight of a wall.

When will you know this?
This is the science of desperation,
the desperation that forces people
in the backs of eighteen wheelers
Mar 21

Why I March

I know that
hunting is a way of life,
but semi-automatic weapons
are made with the intentions to hunt humans.
They spray bullets without a second thought,
and kill.
That killing machine,
hulking and deadly,
is worthless in a game of sport,
but makes all the difference in a battlefield.
In a school of screaming children,
fearing for their lives in the corners of locked rooms.

How many more of us must scream
bloody murder
to save our lives?
How many more of us must scream
because our lives depend on it?
How many more of us
will be buried six feet under
until something happens?

We are murdered in pristine white school hallways.
We worry about making it out alive
when we are kids
who should be worrying about our next test.
We worry about telling our family we love them
because what if it's the last time.
We worry about the nearest escape route
Mar 15

a letter to the US government

you’ve never met me,
have you?
did you have any idea whatsoever
that i exist at all?

let me introduce myself.

i don’t need you to know my name,
feminist would be fine.
nevermind that.
call me what you like.
i am not defined by your words.

i am writing to you
not to say what you’re doing wrong
or to tell you how evil you are.

i have never met you
so i believe it’s unfair to make judgments.
that much is a lesson i should hope
you’re one day able to learn.

i am writing for change.

immigrants aren’t criminals
unless we make them so
by making it illegal for them
to dream.

women aren’t weak
unless men
are equally weak
and strength has no meaning at all.

love is love
unless you can inform me what else it could be
because i was never taught another definition
so please enlighten me.
Mar 15

Writers for Change

Recently, a few of my friends from school and I have begun a program that we are calling Writers for Change. The idea is to collect poems, essays, short stories, etc. about the changes we would like to see in our country. We plan to send all pieces we receive to the U.S. Congress, along with an attached letter explaining what they are, and what our group's purpose is.

We are looking for work done by any kids under voting age. If you like to write and you want to be involved in current issues and standing up for what you believe in, please write something (or send us existing work) talking about the changes you would like to see, and why you want to see them. Don't hold back! Please share as many pieces as you want. 

Drive-by (Mouth) Shooting

I'm an 8th grade student at the Mansfield Cooperative School, a small independent school in Richmond, and today my school participated in the 17 minute silence and walk-out that happened at a nationwide level yesterday. Each minute represented one student or staff member who lost their life during the school shooting in Florida. We had a snow day, so we held our walk-out today, at around noon. 
On Tuesday some of us had created signs with messages like, "Protect Children, Not Guns," "Peace,"  "Fear Has No Place in Schools," and "Our Silence Protests Violence." 
Mar 15

patchwork reparations

i hate the crackle of the intercom
and the way a painfully familiar hush
washes over a room full of people.
rooms havent failed to go silent since the incident.
our breaths all hitch
in some horrifying unison
as we remember
and shake.

the day after
i nearly cried when announcements came over speakers,
a familiar voice trying to reassure
as i struggled to suppress.
it was a class meeting
to discuss the situation.

there was frustration
and anger,
class meetings spilling over,
and when it was our turn to speak,
we kept going and going.

"if city hall wasnt safe yesterday
when will it ever be safe?
students were turned away
because they dont ride the bus
or they don't have a car.
what will you do in a real emergency?"

i didnt get my answer.

nobody got their answer.

i hate the crackle of the intercom
Mar 12

NEEDED: Writers to Change the World!


Recently, a few of my friends from school and I have begun a program that we are calling Writers for Change. The idea is to collect poems, essays, short stories, etc. about the changes we would like to see in our country. We plan to send all pieces we receive to the U.S. Congress, along with an attached letter explaining what they are, and what our group's purpose is.

We are looking for work done by any kids under voting age. If you like to write and you want to be involved in current issues and standing up for what you believe in, please write something (or send us existing work) talking about the changes you would like to see, and why you want to see them. Don't hold back! Please share as many pieces as you want. 
Mar 01

Speak out: A letter to leaders


High school and middle school students around the U.S. are having their voices heard. Will it be enough? Will you be heard? Can you bring change?

Write a letter to your Senator, Congressman, state legislator, governor. Tell them what you think they should do. Post a copy here. 

ALSO, put the hashtag #writersforchange if you'd like to be part of a YWP community project to send a lot of writing to political leaders being organized by some YWP users. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.


 
Feb 27

17

Editor's note: A small bug in YWP's audio recorder prevents us from eliminating the first, blank, recording. The SECOND player is the one you want to listen to -- a wonderful revision.

1 month ago today,
When 17 people were killed,
I felt nothing.

I could not feel the shock
Of 17 bullets leaving a gun
Could not feel the weight
Of 17 bodies hitting the floor
Could not feel the agony
Of 17 bullets entering 17 bodies
Or the devastation
Of 17 families losing 17 loved ones.

I am 17 years old
And I have already learned to forget
To push each new gunshot out of my mind
Because I tell myself
It can't hold any more
It shouldn't hold any more—
But I'm done forgetting.

Because the thing is, I'm right.

A 17-year-old mind
Should not have to hold
17 lives and 17 deaths
That could have been saved,
Could have been stopped,
Audio download:
17.m4a.mp3
Feb 27

Don’t Think


I love this life.
I don’t want to loose it.

And yet, everyday,
I’m scared I will.

I’m scared to go to public places
like protests
or the grocery store.

I’m scared to go
to high school next year,
scared that I’ll be trapped
in there like many others
before me.

I’m scared that one day
you and I
might be the next victims,
the next names
on a never ending list. 

I’m scared of myself.
I’m scared that I will burst
out crying in math class.

I can’t breathe
when I think about
Stoneman Douglas High School.
I can’t breathe when I think
about how similar we
are,
were,
could have been...
14 years old,
too much to live for. 

“Life is not meant to be wasted,”
I remind myself.

Don’t be scared. 

And still, 
it’s all I can
think about. 


Feb 26

i don't want to be afraid anymore.

I

i remember sixth grade
with a certain sweet sadness.

i remember flashes of
sun between branches- a strobe light
as we raced past evergreens
and hemlocks. we were free then.

i remember art class with Mrs. Bird, and the
bookfair, and the library, and the broken swing
on the playground, and morning meetings,
and i remember the man who came to my school with a knife.

i can’t help but remember Mrs. Gray’s shrill laugh,
cartwheeling through the hallways and rolling down
damp hills, the scent of grass wafting through the air,
the pine needles stuck in my hair, and
huddling in the corner of Mr. Tessin’s room.
i remember it was dark as he rushed to lock the door.

i remember October 2nd.
the calm voice over the intercom telling us
to stay where we were.
i remember the worry that settled in the bottom of my stomach

Feb 21

but i did

the first time i felt unsafe in school
was because someone vandalized my homework.
it was crudely scratched and hasty,
but a deliberate "asian" across my math.
i didn't want to go back,
but i did.

the second time i felt unsafe in school
was Sandy Hook.
all i could think about was children
screaming and crying
wanting to know what was happening
and why it was.
i thought of how they wanted their parents
or didn't understand why people were screaming.
i didn't want to go back,
but i did.

i still didnt understand the weight of it
until february 14th 2018.
i had a new water bottle,
new socks,
and a package of mints i opened that morning.
i remember the cute red and pink heart plastered bag
my mom proudly presented to me.

i remember the headlines.
high schoolers,
like me,
shot dead fleeing.
Stoneman Douglas High students,
dead.