We met this week one day in Bronzeville and talked about youth violence, about standing up to it, about not being branded and stereotyped by it, about surviving the wounds and being a hero, a good neighbor, a conscience and about the many good souls who never get enough praise or enough handshakes.
It was a community meeting of our We Are Not Alone – No Estamos Solos campaign. A few hours later, the Internet brought me this poem. A gift. For all of us.
by David Nekimken
We Are Not Alone*
Gunshots shatter the night
Bleeding youth Wailing ambulances,
Death by gang symbol
Death by street boundary
Death by mistaken identity
Death by stray bullet
Shards of life dreams.
Daily occurrences as
Dead-end every days
(often too little, too late, too insentitive)
Youth ERs and funerals.
An all too grisly picture,
Chicago youth violence
Black and Latino youth violence
Splattered across the evening news
Splashed in Chicago newspaper headlines.
Community leaders Youth leaders
Saying “NO” to violence,
Saying “YES” to
a voice for their stories
acts of positive contributions,
Becoming their own role models.
Youth taking control of their lives
Alternatives to gangs
Start community enterprises.
Transformation in the communities
Starting from one youth
One step forward
To forge a powerful force for change
And youth living out their dreams.
David Nekimken 6/28/11
*A campaign to unite Chicago’s black and Latino communities and their news media, to transcend violence www.chicagoistheworld.org/notalone