Who are we as a people?

Who are we as a people?
Who are we as a people if we cannot forgive our children?
Who are we as a people if we cannot help teach our children?
Who are we as a people if we cannot speak out for our children?
Who are we as a people if we cannot help our children?
Who are we as a people if we cannot fight for the rights of our children?
Just who are we as a people?
Who are we as a people to look a child in the eye and say “you deserve to be looked at as an adult even though you are a child”.
Who are we as a people not to see, that child could be your child.
Who are we as a people to judge a child for his actions and not his heart?
Who are we as a people to determine that a child life is over without giving him/her a second chance?
Who are we as a people to ignore that the child is really just a child.
Who are we as a people to sit back as if nothing is going on with that child?
Just who are we as a people?
How can we be as a people and for the people if we cannot realize that something is going on with our children today?
How can we as a people turn our backs on our children!
My child! Your child! Our child! God’s child!
Who are we as a people not to want to help our children! God’s children!
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Written and read by former prisoner La Keisha Burton at CCWP’s screening of Juvies on May 13th, 2011. La Keisha was given a life sentence after she was arrested at 15 years old, and served 18 years at the California Institute for Women, an adult correctional facility. To listen to Wanda Sabir’s radio interview with La Keisha, please click here.