Manual High Student Poems: Who is Defending our American Dream?

Who is Defending our American Dream?

by LaShae Wedgeworth (In our series of poems written and recorded by students at Denver’s Manual High)


Emmett Till
Money, Mississippi
Spoke with a white lady admiring her bright skin.
Two white men gouged out his eye
one shot
Emmett Till goes missing.
White jury
acquitted them
Who was defending his American Dream?

Trayvon Martin
17 years old
Walking home from the corner store
Skittles in his pocket and tea in his hand
looked suspicious
one shot.
Trayvon Martin is now down.
Who was defending his American Dream?

Michael Brown
18 years old
stole a candy bar Police were called
Officer Darren Wilson reported to the seen
Hands in the air, knees to the hot street
Seven shots
No longer on his knees but on his stomach the middle of the street
for twelve hours
Who was defending his American Dream?

Lashae Wedgeworth
13 years old
Pulled over with older cousin
Two black girl arset
clam to be racing down the street
Lashae cries and is held at gun point
cuffs so tight her wrist her hands turning purple
left on the sidewalk for 1 hour alone
Who was defending her American Dream?

Black people have been abused with the law
Teens have been abused with the law
We learn to live with the sorrow each day
The pain of not being treated like white

Does the color black bother you?
Is it cause the color black is beautiful
Do we have something on our face that makes you look at us different?
Do you think we are going to overpower you because of how strong we are?

Dirty, thugs, uneducated, criminal, stupid
Black people have no type of sense they say
No education we are told
we learn to live in their words
to be dirty like we have Ebola
thugs as if we shot up movie theaters
uneducated as in we just come from the dirt and there’s no way out
criminals as if we always always break the law
stupid as if we can’t see what’s going on in the world
we have heard this all our lives
some of us don’t know about our story
so we get lost living in the story that we are told of us
but who are we really ?
Did Trayvon already know what was going to happen?
Did Michael know that stealing one candy bar would take his life?
Do any of us see it coming?
Who really is defending our American Dream?