Social Justice Poetry

A Social Justice Poem by Alan Escarcega
Posted on 02/02/2016
Middle College High School @Northgate teacher, Robin Wilson, and her Humanities class began the school year analyzing origin stories from eight distinct world cultures. This was an adaptation of an activity found in The Big History Project. The Big History Project is a free multidisciplinary supplemental resource for any history or science curriculum.

Students read and critically examined the origin stories, which led to critical discourse around the issues of human rights. Students were asked to write arguments to support claims on debatable issues, such as the current Syrian crisis.

This led to students examining and questioning the human rights violations that they see and experience in their own communities. Students are becoming active participants and leaders in their school system and local communities. For example, three students who are active participants in Clear Sky Native Youth Council have been voted in as board members for United Native Education Alliance, a local Native American educational coalition that addresses social and academic disparities; and several students have initiated a service learning event to provide food for homeless teens in Seattle’s University District.

Allan Escarcega, a member of the class and Assiniboine Sioux tribal member, was inspired after completing his research project to write the following poem about the Syrian crisis:

Syria, 2016 by Allan Escarcega

Syrians deserve the right
To stand up and fight/And so they did

And at the end of the night
Looking up at the sky

Only to see smoke and explosive lights
Dead bodies and broken buildings
Are the only things in sight

Who’s gonna be left when they get their rights
Watching people die has become their everyday life

I would hate being afraid of being alive
Who knew my protectors would be here to terrorize

Life just keeps getting harder for the youth to be smarter
On the way to school just to be doomed
By a coward martyr

It’s dangerous to cross there
When a sniper’s got you in his crosshair

Families evacuate before they evaporate
Trying to find ways not to die today

All these unanswered questions
Where’d we lose our connection

Where words are no longer effective
Losing your direction, feeling helpless
All of your senses tellin’ you look for independence

So you have to flee the scene to seek peace
Lookin’ at all this debris
And all the ash which used to be laughs
Nothing but the aftermath of blasts and echoed

The whole city’s shakin’
Nervous but aggravated
Only choices left
Stay, leave or retaliating

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