The Effects of Violence

The poem below was read on the Michael Baisden sydincated talk show on Monday. At the tender age of 16, Yvonne Espinoza offers keen insight into the violence that continues to rage through our communities. As you read try to imagine the heartfelt plea she offered on the radio. With strong conviction, passion and anger Yvonne recited this poem through tear filled eyes. I hope this moves you and prompts some dialouge in your community.

Violent
By Yvonne Espinoza

We’re violent because this is all we know
You taught us this along time ago
We’re violent because you made us this way
You beat us naked, you hung our people,
Raped our kids and stripped us of our pride
And you now wanna ask why?
Give us a reason not to be
You can’t, it’s impossible

Because to give us a reason, you’d have to right all the wrong you’ve done
But you can’t and if you could then
You’ve only just begun
You’d have to beg for mercy, plead and cry
You’d have to feel the pain we felt
The pain that took lives

You go through the hardships,
The trials and tribulations,
The suffering, the heartache, the dying babies
You sit on a boat full of hundreds of sick,
Old people living to die
How about you dance to make money
Look ignorant on t.v.
Go to jail for nothing
Harassed because others don’t like what they see

Have your people get beat to death
By those who get paid to protect
You eat trash to survive
How about you watch your people and babies die
Get sold for a dime
Kill themselves because they don’t want to live this life

We went through it then and we go through it now
And you know it’s true, and you still ask why?
How dare you have the audacity
Who made you king?

Despite common belief and despite what you think
There is only one king, one God
And he walks with me, with us
The ones who were forced to live in grief
Who were cut, killed, raped and beat
Like animals, brainwashed to think like you

You hacked away, pulled and dragged us down
Until we didn’t want to be Black or Brown
We didn’t want to be Colored or Negroes
We wanted to be High, Suddity, White Folk
We though if we looked, smelled, and act like you
We could live a regular life, and though we tried
You still continued to beat and lay us out
To hang us from our necks, to laugh at our bodies

You could never blame us for being this way
Because you taught us violence
So how dare you think of forming any kind of alliance
Now we know that two wrongs don’t make a right
But since we have none,
Why should we spare your life?

It’s your fault for all of this
And if you didn’t teach us violence
Then who did?
It couldn’t have been us
Because, remember, we’re ignorant!

You should be careful what you say
Because your words have power
Say it enough and it’ll come true…
I know you’ve heard of karma
God have mercy on you.

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