Words Unlocked Youth Poetry Contest Winner: Labels

The Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS) recently concluded its fifth annual “Words Unlocked,” a youth poetry contest for juveniles in secure facilities.
The Imprint of Social Change will publish all of the winners throughout the week. We continue today with the 2nd place winner, “Labels.”

Labels are for food not for people,

But I stay getting labeled and each time I feel weaker.

Everyone assumes I must be a dike,

Because I have short hair and some girls I like.

Labels are hurtful but nobody cares,

They call me ghetto and hatefully glare.

She’s suicidal, disrespectful and loud they say,

Without any interest in knowing me they label away.

They think I’m not capable of success itself,

She has no filter and no form of wealth.

Her mother’s naive and those gangsters she welcomes,

The girl has no chance she’s already a felon.

Look how she dresses with no self-respect,

Her dad must not be there ‘cause she suffers from neglect.

They label me time and time again,

These people are strangers who claim to be friends.

I am not the thing’s my past has shown,

Who am I?

The girl that nobody knows.

If your curious I’ll tell you who I am,

I’m loving, forgiving and a trustworthy friend.

These qualities are my best nothing more and nothing less,

They may hurt me at times and I do have self-respect.

I dress the way I do cause it’s simply my fashion,

I do have a filter I’m just blunt with a passion.

I’m funny, observant and bolder than some,

My mother’s the best see the woman I’ve become.

She does welcome people of all shapes and sizes,

There all good people and come with surprises.

Nobody’s perfect, that I know,

But you can’t put me down with those labels you throw.

I am more than words can describe,

My empathy, my love, the way I forgive has helped me survive.

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Youth Voice Writing Submissions are still open. Do you or someone you know have experience as a #fosteryouth with insights to #racism and #policebrutality? We want to amplify your stories. More info here: https://j.mp/3ig6qr9

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