FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Poem Against Youth Curfews

by GUISELA RAMOS, DIANA BONILLA, DANIEL RAMOS and PABLO PAREDES

Tuesday November 12, 2013 the Oakland City Council’s Public Safety Committee discussed the potential implementation of a youth curfew that would criminalize anyone under 18 found in any public place, and even in businesses, inside the city of Oakland between 10pm and 6am. 

Dozens of young people, mostly Black and Latino teenagers, crowded the City Hall’s main chamber in opposition of the law. Oakland teens Guisela Ramos, Diana Bonilla, and Daniel Ramos, accompanied by Pablo Paredes, an organizer with the immigrants rights group 67 Sueños, addressed the city councilors with the following poem. Counterpunch has added links to the text where the authors refer to actual events.

I’m here today, to say

Curfews don’t reduce crime, they

Criminalize us, and our day to day

 

I’m here to shed a light on some inconvenient truth

About how our society treats youth

They won’t arrest my 40 year old pimp or the 30 year old john

But they will arrest me when my pimp is gone

White kids will puff pot in parks in the hills past ten, and it will all be chill

But if you’re brown and black on the flats, enforcement will have a different feel

They told me once the definition of insanity

Was to try the same thing over and over, expecting differently

 

Youth curfews don’t recognize our humanity

Haven’t worked and in fact they make us indifferent

Youth weren’t involved at any stage of the process

But we will suffer the losses

5 schools closed at one school board meeting for lack of funds

But we never experience a lack of sexy squad cars, or a lack of guns.

Police ride chargers through impoverished slums

They even “pimped” out a low rider for fun

 

Being detained for a curfew violation

Led to my deportation, and my family’s separation

Pardon my indignation, but this was never about safety, it was about the insecurity of a nation

They fly drones over borders, and place checkpoints on highways

Ghetto birds over gated communities around my way

Curefews, and Andy Lopez, only 13, bleeds in his own driveway

And you wonder why youth look at pigs sideways?

 

30 year olds are the ones who commit homicides

But to mess with their freedom is political suicide

So we focus on youth and our future dies, disenfranchised

Marginalized, criminalized, but Gallo wont even look me in the eyes

I wonder what he has to hide

Could it be, that he was me?

Profiled at age 13

In these same streets

And felt the fear, the anxiety that we breathe?

And the guilt of becoming what he

Tried to leave?

Is it making it too hard for him to see

That all we yearn to be, is free?

Are you feeling guilty?

Do you have nightmares of Andy’s death certificate signed in the same ink as this policy?

 

I couldn’t watch my mom get punched and kicked

Couldn’t sit through, or stomach my family’s shit

Couldn’t watch my mom get battered

Couldn’t listen to her cheek bones shatter

Couldn’t watch her bruised eyes grow fatter

But it was past ten and the fact that I didn’t feel safe in my own home didn’t matter

White people are allowed to feel safe

Black and brown folks have to scatter

When we talk public safety, we never mean the latter

 

I’m here today, to say

Curfews don’t reduce crime, they

Criminalize us and our day to day.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer
Matthew Stevenson
Is Trump the Worst President Ever?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Flynn?
John Wight
Brexit and Trump: Why Right is Not the New Left
Diana Johnstone
France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface
Neve Gordon
Trump’s One-State Option
Roger Harris
Emperor Trump Has No Clothes: Time to Organize!
Joan Roelofs
What Else is Wrong with Globalization
Andrew Levine
Why Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban?
Mike Whitney
Blood in the Water: the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper
Vijay Prashad
Trump, Turmoil and Resistance
Ron Jacobs
U.S. Imperial War Personified
David Swanson
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?
Andre Vltchek
Governor of Jakarta: Get Re-elected or Die!
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Destruction of Mosul
Norman Pollack
Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse
Steve Horn
What Do a Louisiana Pipeline Explosion and Dakota Access Pipeline Have in Common? Phillips 66
Brian Saady
Why Corporations are Too Big to Jail in the Drug War
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest to Armed Uprising
Luke Meyer
The Case of Tony: Inside a Lifer Hearing
Binoy Kampmark
Adolf, The Donald and History
Robert Koehler
The Great American Awakening
Murray Dobbin
Canadians at Odds With Their Government on Israel
Fariborz Saremi
A Whole New World?
Joyce Nelson
Japan’s Abe, Trump & Illegal Leaks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump 1, Tillerson 0
Yves Engler
Is This Hate Speech?
Dan Bacher
Trump Administration Exempts Three CA Oil Fields From Water Protection Rule at Jerry Brown’s Request
Richard Klin
Solid Gold
Melissa Garriga
Anti-Abortion and Anti-Fascist Movements: More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Thomas Knapp
The Absurd Consequences of a “Right to Privacy”
W. T. Whitney
The Fate of Prisoner Simón Trinidad, as Seen by His U. S. Lawyer
Brian Platt
Don’t Just Oppose ICE Raids, Tear Down the Whole Racist Immigration Enforcement Regime
Paul Cantor
Refugee: the Compassionate Mind of Egon Schwartz
Norman Richmond
The Black Radical Tradition in Canada
Barton Kunstler
Rallying Against the Totalitarian Specter
Judith Deutsch
Militarism:  Revolutionary Mothering and Rosie the Riveter
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir Evoked a Lot More International Attention in the 1950s Than It Does Now
Adam Phillips
There Isn’t Any There There
Louis Proyect
Steinbeck’s Red Devils
Randy Shields
Left Coast Date: the Dating Site for the ORWACA Tribe
Charles R. Larson
Review: Bill Hayes’ “Insomniac City”
David Yearsley
White Supremacy and Music Theory
February 16, 2017
Peter Gaffney
The Rage of Caliban: Identity Politics, the Travel Ban, and the Shifting Ideological Framework of the Resistance
Ramzy Baroud
Farewell to Doublespeak: Israel’s Terrifying Vision for the Future
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail