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Each year, 826LA partners with one Los Angeles public school for the Young Authors’ Book Project (YABP). Volunteers work with students for seven weeks to write pieces around a central theme. In collaboration with students from Alain LeRoy Locke High School, the 2017 YABP publication, When the Moon Is Up, contains stories from young people in South LA, inspired by the 25th anniversary of the 1992 LA Uprisings. The book’s 61 student authors depict the modern lives of youth in stories about responsibility, family, loss, courage, and favorite pairs of sneakers.
Braxton J.’s “Thoughts of a Polluted Mind”
Kings/Queens, Gold, Land, Blood Sweat and Tears; mud thrown on us, dirt kick toward us. Words strong as steel that damaged us, history that crippled us. Yet we still walk toward a better future.
Angels seen as monsters and monsters praised as heroes. Respect and dignity traded for fame and fortune. Blinded by the suffering for centuries we are now pushed from the path of peace and tranquility toward an explicit path of destruction.
“Incomplete knowledge leads us to be committed to half-change…”
Incomplete knowledge leads us to be committed to half-change, the fear of failing or dying. Leaving everything behind, forgetting throughout history stops us from standing up for what’s right.
When will we take a stand without breaks? Stop being zombified by the media—taking away the dreams we lived for?
The eyes of a young Black/Brown man/woman in the slums or on money to make it out. The sight of drugs, money, and jewels following the shell of murder, gunpowder turns one into the brute you already think we are. Communication breakdown creates confusion that turns into pointless violence. The touch from our loved ones is lost, lack of guidance we try to grow too fast to survive in this cold jungle.
“When will we take a stand without breaks?”
The touch of money to a person who never had it gives us a taste of a paradise they dream of daily, urging them to do anything to get a hold of it.
Sounds of police and ambulance daily driving a person crazy! Feeling targeted every second of every day or worse, making a person comfortable to this daily war we face.
No one tells you how to get to where you need to be in life and sometimes people don’t get informed on what’s right or wrong, leaving a mystery in many hands about the things you’ll face in the outside world.
“How would you turn out if the streets were your parents, the people on your block will be considered family, books replaced by the lessons you learn in the streets becoming your everyday school?”
How would you turn out if the streets were your parents, the people on your block will be considered family, books replaced by the lessons you learn in the streets becoming your everyday school? Any lesson missed, you become lost and people you consider family is all rats, poisonous snakes, and vultures.
The invisible chains we all wear… religion has a strong hold on our lives. Keeping us in order and making one feel or seem superior. When will we take a stand without breaks? Who is the man Jesus that we pray to? Is it the ship that we rode here in shackles or is it a White man with blonde hair blue eyes? White folk. According to the Bible, it states that God is a Brown-colored man. So how come when I search up God in Google, it’s a White man?
Police used as mindless minions. Feeling as though they are here to protect but only keeping us in check for the higher-ups. Not following the sense of their own justice they will state that they are just following orders. Judges are granted the power as gods, choosing if a person should live or die. How can one be granted such a power? The president is only a face, not making actual changes, but causing disaster to others, making foreigners who rebel looking for justice to be seen as terrorists. Us being foolish, we support our state because it’s our state. If we were to live in any other state/country/place that the United States has severely damaged, wouldn’t we have done the same?
“According to the Bible, it states that God is a Brown-colored man. So how come when I search up God in Google, it’s a White man?”
People grow more lazy as technology evolves. The real question is when will we be replaced by technology? Are we really evolving or becoming enslaved by our own inventions?
Our country is corrupted and other countries know that.
There’s no change. There’s more hate because we always lose. People in the position of money and status.
Control is what the “enlightened” ones want, illuminated by darkness, greed at their throats. Consumed by greed, they’ll do anything to keep their power and status.
When will we take a stand without taking a break? That voice will always be the answer to our problem.
About the Author
Braxton J. is a senior at Locke High School. A poet and a philosopher of sorts, Braxton embodies equal parts Cornel West and Kendrick Lamar.
The views expressed in this book are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect those of 826LA. We support student publishing and are thrilled you are reading this text. Purchase When the Moon Is Up in-stores and online at the Time Travel Mart here.