Posted by: María
Today, we want to share a poem written by a twenty-two year old woman who has been incarcerated for more than two years. We begin with her poem, ‘Justice’, because it touches, in a very thoughtful manner, on issues of opportunity, social exclusion, and the idea that violence only creates more violence. It gives a necessary introduction to the situation in which many young people are living, before we dive deeper into more emotionally difficult topics such as abuse, abandonment, and death. There is a beauty in the way she asks us questions that are simple but deep. It’s difficult for us to answer them because it forces us to question the responsibility we have in relation to the situation of violence and marginalization of youth.
She invites us to rethink the idea of justice, to go further than just seeing crime and punishment, and talk about opportunity and the contradictions of society in how it treats young people. How can we ‘reinsert’ youth who have never been included nor paid attention to? What would a process of justice look like that took into account the healing of the victim, offender and the community?
This is a space to analyze how society constructs the stereotype of the ‘youth offender’ and ‘violent teen’. It’s so we accept our own role in social exclusion, in maintaining the status quo, and supporting the structures of power that keep everyone in their rightful place. It’s so we assume our responsibility of being agents of change.
Justice. What justice?
If we lose our youth as they close doors on us
and leave us like guitars without strings.
How do you expect a rose, when you sow thorns?
How do you expect to hear if you have demanded silence?
You have closed the doors on us,
you have robbed us of freedom,
and we only asked for an opportunity.
Why do you turn your back on us when we ask for a hand?
How can you ask for love when you have pulled out our heart
and you have it in a cage
that it can’t escape from?
Perhaps you were never young.
Perhaps you never made mistakes.
We are left, forgotten,
to lose our youth.
You sow hate and want to harvest love.
Why don’t you extend your hand and give freedom to my heart?
She asks us, how do you expect a rose when you planted thorns? So, what do we have to sow in order to harvest a culture of peace?