Hip-Hop is Art, Not Evidence

By Alejandro Hernandez

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution officially states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Among many of the rights that it protects for us, is our artistic expression. However, there is one art form that seems to be an exception to these protections: Hip-hop music. 

In the last month, 28 members of the Atlanta-based hip-hop label Young Stoner Life (YSL), most notably Young Thug and Gunna, have been charged with 56 indictments of different RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) charges including armed robbery, aggravated assault, and murder. Leading these charges is Fani Willis, the Fulton County District Attorney who previously indicted rapper YFN Lucci along with 11 others with 105 RICO charges in 2021. Part of the evidence that the courts are using in both YFN and YSL’s cases are song lyrics and visuals from music videos.

Imagine yourself in Young Thug’s shoes for a moment. You’re born and raised in a difficult environment plagued by violence, police surveillance, and inaccessibility to wealth and resources. You do what it takes to survive in that environment while using your musical talent to become a successful career artist. You may draw on some of your lived experiences for inspiration, and after enough time, you become discovered by a label and change your life forever. In time, you invest your own money and resources into creating your own label so that you can help others that were once in your position, and you’re able to do so with great success, discovering future stars like Lil Baby, Gunna, and the late Lil Keed. Then, all that labor and effort comes crashing down with the very art you made to build your empire being used against you in the court of law. It’s fucked up, isn’t it?

While the YSL indictment is the most recent and most high profile of any similar, there has already been an ugly precedent set against rappers by the judicial system of the United States going as far back as the FBI surveilling NWA following the release of “Fuck Tha Police” in 1988. In an interview with Crime Report in 2019, authors of the book “Rap On Trial” Erik Nielsen and Andrea Dennis estimated as many as 500 cases in which rap lyrics were used as evidence, some of which successfully imprisoned artists going as far back as 1990.

As mentioned earlier YFN Lucci was indicted after prosecutors used his lyrics and social media posts as proof of his ties to Bloods. In an article written for Complex earlier this month, Andre Gee points out “In January 2021, the state of Maryland ruled that rap lyrics were permissible as evidence of guilt… The ruling set a dangerous precedent for prosecutors in other states to follow.” following the sentencing of a man who recited lyrics through a jail phone to a friend. This directly contradicts to alleged right to artistic expression that is supposed to be protected by the first amendment.

It’s no coincidence that this direct criminalization of hip-hop most directly affects young Black and Brown artists, as this is just another example of America’s long history of systemic racism. This creates a double standard with other artistic mediums. Think of how many popular films depict white men committing violence. Not only are the filmmakers absolved from any guilt toward committing a crime (and rightfully so) but those films are often glorified in our culture, which is it’s own separate conversation. Many classic rock and country songs also depict violent crimes, but you’ve never heard of a case in which Freddie Mercury was put on trial for murder after singing “Mama, I killed a man/Pulled my trigger now, now he’s dead.” However, hip-hop artists are often blamed for poisoning their community with the music they make that’s just a reflection of social inequities that already exist in the hood. 

In Chicago, we witnessed Rahm Emmanuel close 50 schools in the South and West sides in 2013, yet he pinned the crime rates on drill artists, most notably Chief Keef who is effectively banned from the city due to outstanding warrants for his arrest. In New York today, history is repeating itself. In a separate article for Complex, Andre Gee writes about mayor Eric Adams’ expressed intentions to ban drill music completely from social media, claiming that the genre is contributing to the number of violent crimes. 

Currently, the status quo of America stands that white men can draw inspiration from violence for artistic purposes, but when a Black person does it, it’s taken as a literal threat to society. The response of politicians is reactive, turning the musicians behind hip-hop into scapegoats for their city’s crimes instead of addressing the structural racism at the root of the issue. Our elected officials should be taking a proactive approach by funding Black and Brown communities through education, healthcare resources, and better employment opportunities, however, that would require them to relinquish their positioning within the existing power dynamics of class and race in this county.

The current YSL indictment should be treated with the utmost serious conviction. Young Thug recently urged fans to sign a Protect Black Art petition that calls for the limitation of using art as criminal evidence. Gunna just published an open letter in which he claims his innocence, vowing to fight against these charges that are an infringement of his rights. It’s important that we fight too. If this is what courts can do against high-profile artists, imagine the type of punishment they inflict on smaller independent artists with less funds and legal resources. White America simultaneously punishes and profits off the stories of Black artists every day, and will continue to do so until we all collectively decide to shake the table instead of seeking a seat at it.

Whether or not you’re an artist or even a fan of hip-hop at all, it’s important to organize with our communities and take a stand every day against the system that continually polices every aspect of the lives of Black and poor people. Hip-hop is the most consumed and influential art form that exists today after being born from working class Black and Caribbean immigrants who simply found a new way to express themselves freely with the limited resources they had in the first place. If we truly want to continue progressing the culture forward, we have to actively protect it. In order to ensure we never give up the fight to protect it though, we have to understand the historical and racial implications of its existence in the first place.

These Tragedies

By Caleb Dunson

Three mass shootings in 10 days. 32 dead.

213 mass shootings this year. In classrooms, in churches, in nightclubs. At flea markets, on street corners, at community events. On trains, in cars, in homes.

After the Parkland mass shooting, we marched out of schools across the country mourning those lives lost and demanding gun control. But four years and over fifteen hundred mass shootings later, it seems we’ve marched to nowhere. 

Far away on Capitol Hill, our politicians will strut across marble floors to sit in their grand chambers and make pronouncements about the horrible tragedy of these mass shootings. They will give speeches, put together press clips, and post statements on social media so that everyone will know how bad they feel about the tragedy. Then they will tell us that there is nothing they can do to stop a future tragedy. 

We will grieve. The thoughts and prayers, Twitter takes, and think pieces will circulate for a few days. We will argue a bit over what we can do about this tragedy. Some of us will protest. Some of us will vote. A lot of us will move on. None of it will matter. 

It won’t matter because we court violence in this country. We have invaded and stolen and enslaved. We have raped and beaten and lynched. We have tortured and shot and bombed. We have done these things under the banner of the red white and blue, in defense of life, liberty, and property.

The mistake we make is in seeing violence as an aberration in our nation’s history, as an unfortunate stumble in pursuit of a more perfect union. Violence is a necessary component of the American project. It takes center stage in an ongoing story that indicts the character of our nation. The collective dance we do in moments like these –– the outpouring of emotion, the government inaction, the acceptance of the status quo –– shows just how accustomed we have become to this pattern, 415 years long, of American depravity. 

That we refuse to meaningfully confront this tremendous failure of state formation and governance is troubling. That we normalize these perverse events, this mass death, is disturbing. It is a display of willful ignorance of America’s moral stench, which is growing more pungent by the day. 

The moralizing usually comes at this point in pieces like these; the “here’s what you should do to stop this from happening again” kind of rhetoric. But I have nothing left to say. I can’t tell you what to do with this information. I can’t tell you because I don’t know. I don’t know what to do when communities are suffering, people are dying, and help is nowhere to be found. I don’t know what to do when our government is, and has always been, failing in its most fundamental duty: keeping us safe. And even if I did know what to do, I’m not sure it would be enough to stop a slide toward ruin four centuries in the making.

So for now I will just continue to hope and pray that, against all odds, these tragedies will end.

Grief

By Yas Tadross

If 2020 was the commodity of breath, then 2021 is the abundance of death. 

So many bodies have been lost. 

In America, the only thing that is abundant is death.

We never ask, could these deaths be preventable?

Often the answer is, they are worthy of their violence. 

That your life chances are disposable like a plastic toy, only to be thrown into the dumpster when you have been used up.

We often think visibility will save us all, but what do we have left when we are not desirable to the masses?

The answer: we don’t have anything but flesh.

I wake up most days to a knot in my stomach the size of a ball of yarn hoping that all the strings will be let loose. 

These mornings, scrolling through people’s lives finding out another Black Trans person dead, a person dying of illness in a healthcare system that seeks to escalate death rather than prevent it, another person losing vital resources and not knowing when they will ever get that back.

I don’t know how to grieve these days because how do you mourn a death when there are so many?

How do people selectively choose who they want to grieve?

I often resort to dissociating, allowing my body and my spirit to separate from each other hoping that I get through the day. 

Alignment frightens me because this world is too overwhelming. 

I wonder what it would mean to collectively grieve together?

In grieving, I hope we move beyond empathy. 

I hope we honor people more than just their accomplishments, that they existed. 

We are brought to this Earth to be with each other, not to produce and isolate.

That dissociating is only a tactic of surviving rather than being. 

I understand death is part of our life cycle, 

I want to end the systems that destroy our life chances.

Yaz is an activist, writer, and tiny house enthusiast. Their writing explores issues of being Black, Arab, Transgender, women/femme in both public and private spheres. They also explore topics of grief, reimagining romance, and navigating borderlands.

CONFRONTING THE PAST HELPS DRAW THE POISON 

By: Ojo Taiye

Ojo Taiye is a young Nigerian who uses poetry as a handy tool to write his frustration with society.

Everything ages to amnesia

Leaving a convenient myth

We struggle to hold

The scab breaks

History becomes tensed

As truth goes transparent

The scars lived

Underneath our bed

At night—in the morning

When the policeman stops

And searches for me   

For my torn name

For my family’s grief

4 Days Before Christmas

By Jordan Esparza

In the beginning of December, my dad contacted our apartment building ownership to let them know we would be looking to extend our lease. We decided that, at least for another 6 to 12 months, we would stay put and reassess our living situation at some point in the next coming year. At the time, we were renting a two bedroom apartment in the 7th ward of Waukegan, Illinois. It wasn’t much. Like most apartments and housing these days, you don’t even really get what you pay for. 

On December 21st–ten days until the end of the month, and four days before Christmas–building ownership responded to my dad letting him know that if we chose to extend our leasing agreement we would have to increase our rent payment by nearly double. As you can imagine, this wasn’t possible. Not only was it outside of our financial means, we had less than a pay period to come up with double the money for our home. 

It was devastating. We spent the next week endlessly searching for a place that we could afford and would approve our application in a rapid fashion. Luckily, we found a place on the 30th and began the move that night. 

My family has always been way closer to poverty than we have been to affluence, throughout my life. And, in this instance, we were genuinely a couple hundred bucks away from being homeless. The reality that, “it could happen to anybody“ hit me that day of the 21st when I was told our rent would double if we wanted to stay put. How is this just?

Much of America is aware that we are in a full-blown housing, encompassing all forms of housing–home ownership, homelessness, rent disputes, and more. In America, ownership is the bottom line; the end-all-be-all. If there is ownership, there is no need for humanity. Thankfully, my dad and I were able to handle this situation–barely, but we did. What about the others, though? What about my downstairs neighbor who they informed on the same day as us that they would no longer be accepting her section 8 voucher? What is to happen to her and her family?

At the bottom of this article you will see no GoFundMe account, Cash App, Zelle, or any kind of fundraising effort. That’s not what I’m here for, and I particularly do not need saving. I want action. As a people, we need to demand rights and protections for renters. We need this information to be abundant and we need a humane relationship between property owners and renters. If anyone knows of any policymakers currently working towards this I would love to extend my lived experience in advocacy for the cause.

A nation with mass homelessness is not a strong nation. A nation of mass poverty is not a strong nation. A government set up to only work for big business is not beneficial to the people. I ask that you all just meditate on the situation that I’ve explained and ask yourself “how much longer are we willing to wait for change? How much longer are we willing to wait for a better opportunity at a good life?” We cannot wait. These are things that we must seize. Our lives, collectively, depend on it.

Between Worlds

By Caleb Dunson

In the summertime, music blares from cars and homes. Songs from the Isley Brothers and Chief Keef mix together to envelop your ears in a new, chaotic soundtrack, its bass rattling the ground you stand on. The smell –– a mix of car exhaust, weed, and liquor –– thickly coats the air. The warmth brings seniors out onto their porches and young folks out onto the block, both groups with nothing good to do. In the morning, working adults dressed in suits, scrubs, and fast food uniforms find their way onto the elevated train that screeches by every seven minutes. They don’t return until the sun has nearly set.

At night the street lamps and illegal fireworks create beautiful constellations, and the moon shimmers in the background. The train still shrieks and the music still blares, but now the chatter of evening conversations floats through the air. Gunshots echo sometimes, but with the fireworks, it’s hard to tell just how often. 

Go a couple of blocks westward, though, and it’s quiet. The mornings are filled with birds whispering, squirrels scurrying, and runners panting. The elderly move in packs on their morning walks, gossiping and judging the quality of their neighbors’ massive lawns. The air is fresh, the trees and grass pristine, the houses glistening in the sun. On one block, a kaleidoscopic BLACK LIVES MATTER mural is plastered on the pavement. It was defaced last summer, but no one talks about that. 

In the afternoon, teenagers, mostly white, spill out of the local high school. Some wander about, and others rush to sports practice, all of them talking about everything and nothing. The night returns to quiet as the perfect four-person families settle into their homes to have dinner together and watch evening tv shows. The idyllic life in the idyllic neighborhood. 

There are two worlds, and I live on the threshold between them. My house sits on the street that separates Austin –– one of the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago –– from Oak Park –– a white middle-class suburban paradise. It’s a wide street, the buses run on it, the train perpendicular to and above it. Potholes riddle the pavement on the city-side, but the suburb side is always freshly paved. 

Oak Park was first settled in 1835 as a small rest station for travelers. But after the 1848 construction of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad, settlers began moving to the town in droves. In 1865, one of those settlers, Henry Austin, purchased 470 acres of land just east of Oak Park to establish a settlement he would call “Austinville.” He envisioned the town as a quiet, greenery-rich, temperance community, and built it into exactly that, incorporating the area into the collection of suburbs known as the Cicero Township. 

Among other amenities, Austinville’s elevated train service ––– developed in the late 1880s –– drew people to the town, and by the 1890s Austinville had become the largest settlement in the Township. When Austinville looked to extend its elevated train through Oak Park, the Oak Park residents refused, but because of its sheer population size and political power, Austin steamrolled the smaller suburb and got the extension approved. Just before the turn of the 20th century, Oak Park and the other small suburban towns retaliated by voting Austinville out of the Township, and it was soon annexed to Chicago in 1899 under the name Austin. Thus began the tension between the two neighborhoods.

Today, that elevated train runs westward from the business district in downtown Chicago, through Austin, and straight into the heart of Oak Park. It transports white-collar workers from the blissful suburb to the bustling city. It takes money straight from the heart of Chicago and sends it right out into the suburbs, skipping over Austin. 

The only time Oak Park residents and Austin residents interact, if you could call it that much, is on that train. During morning rush hour, they crowd onto the elevated platform, waiting silently next to one another. Once on the train, they ride in silence. The only exchanges they share are “is this seat open” as they pile onto the train cars, and “excuse me” as they quickly brush past one another. And they exit in silence too, the Black Austin residents trickling off the train as it travels eastward through the neighborhood and approaches downtown, eventually leaving train cars full of white workers.

When Oak Park residents decide to venture into Austin, they often do so to exploit and extract. In March of 2021, when the City of Chicago was beginning to distribute the COVID vaccine, they decided to vaccinate adults in “underserved community areas” before allowing all adults across the city to get vaccinated. Austin was one of those community areas. And yet, as I stood in line outside of my neighborhood vaccination site, I saw several groups of white families trying to appear as if they lived in the neighborhood and not-so-subtly whispering about their post-vaccination brunch plans in Oak Park. They were never caught.  

Around the same time, the City of Chicago launched a capital program to invest in a list of “traditionally underfunded community areas,” and once again Austin made that list. Soon after the program’s launch, the city began awarding contracts for development projects in Austin. The crown jewel contract was a redevelopment project on the Laramie State Bank, a sprawling multi-story building with cream bricks and gold terracotta sculptures etched into its walls. Several Austin-based organizations applied for the contract. It was won by Oak Park Regional Housing. 

In the early 20th century, Austin turned into a refuge for middle-class European immigrants, and with those immigrants came expansive housing development projects. Victorian mansions, two-flats, bungalows, condos, and apartments, along with massive parks and green spaces sprouted up around the neighborhood. But by the 1960s, redlining had reached its height on the predominantly Black South Side of  Chicago, and middle-class Black families, frustrated with discriminatory housing laws, began moving to Austin en-masse. In response, white Austin residents, convinced that the influx of Black families would tank their property values, sold their homes and fled to the surrounding suburbs like Oak Park, taking their tax dollars and investing power with them. Real estate brokers took advantage of the mass exodus, selling newly vacant properties to Black families at exorbitant prices and offering predatory mortgages. Property values depreciated, and with manufacturing jobs disappearing throughout the latter half of the 20th century, the neighborhood was plunged into social and economic disarray. Businesses died, families left, crime rose. The neighborhood fell.

When my mom, fresh out of graduate school, bought our third-floor condo unit in 2007, Austin was framed as an up-and-coming community, and the idea of the neighborhood being re-annexed by Oak Park seemed plausible. But nearly 15 years and two economic crashes later, nothing much has changed. The Victorian mansions are hollow, as if their very essence has been sucked out. Their roofs are cracked, their paint is peeling, and their foundations are crumbling. Only their broken facades remain, offering a haunting image of what once was. Vacant lots line the streets, mixing concrete and waist-high weeds. The parks’ trees are infected with ash beetles, which eat away at the trees’ bark, leaving them smooth and weak. The grass in the park has died, leaving patches of dirt littered with liquor bottles, crack bags, and junk food wrappers. 

And yet, in spite of that, community persists here. When I was 6, my mom used to take me to the town hall building, a structure reminiscent of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, to play basketball. The local park district didn’t have jerseys for us, so we had to play shirts and skins. That same year I was in a summer program at the now-closed Marcy Newberry childcare agency. We ate cheap lunches, played on old playgrounds, and took one major field trip to a fast-food restaurant. I got my first haircut from an old childhood friend of my dad; they had grown up together in Austin. In fact, my parents first met while working high school jobs at a McDonald’s in the area. On special occasions, my mom would take me to MacArthur’s, a soul food restaurant that served huge portions and vowed to keep their prices affordable for the community. 

Backyard parties played stepping music and got the old folks dancing as if it was their heyday, and graduation parties showered young folks with gifts and praise to celebrate their success. When news broke of kids getting shot in our neighborhood, the entire community mourned. Vigils were held, and streetside memorials were made with pictures, stuffed animals, and flowers. 

I love Austin, despite its struggles. I love that my neighborhood has shaped me, showing me just how chaotic and messy and magnificent the world can be. I love that Austin’s relationship with Oak Park has opened my eyes to injustice and gifted me with a passion for building a better society. I love that thinking about home keeps me grounded as I sit in stuffy classrooms with sons of billionaires, waiting for my moment to build that better world. 

I love how the 100,000 lives in my neighborhood have been threaded together, how we find beauty as we cover those vacant homes with spray paint and turn them into art, how we find joy as we repurpose those vacant lots into playgrounds, how we find community as we congregate in those dying parks to celebrate holidays and family reunions. It’s not the idyllic life, but it’s beautiful.

Sources

Austin Coming Together. (2013). History – austincomingtogether.org. Austin Coming Together. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://austincomingtogether.org/history/. 

Chicago Historical Society. (n.d.). Austin. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/93.html. 

Chicago ”l”.org: History – lake street ”l” chronology (1888-1924). (n.d.). Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.chicago-l.org/history/chron_lake.html. 

Donnelly, G. (2017, May 22). Our neighborhood pick: Austin. Chicago Reporter. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.chicagoreporter.com/our-neighborhood-pick-austin/. 

Editorial Board. (2021, March 9). Saving Laramie State Bank. Oak Park. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.oakpark.com/2021/03/09/saving-laramie-state-bank/. 

Eltagouri, M. (2017, July 14). Austin population drops to no. 2 in City for 1st time in 45 years. chicagotribune.com. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-austin-population-decline-met-20170714-story.html. 

Hautzinger, D. (2020, June 24). Oak Park: Neighborhoods: Chicago by ‘L’. WTTW Chicago. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://interactive.wttw.com/chicago-by-l/neighborhoods/oak-park. 

Moser, W. (2017, August 22). How redlining segregated Chicago, and America. Chicago Magazine. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.chicagomag.com/city-life/august-2017/how-redlining-segregated-chicago-and-america/. 

PBS. (n.d.). Ask Geoffrey: The fascinating story of Antoinette Rich. WTTW News. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://news.wttw.com/2018/02/21/ask-geoffrey-fascinating-story-antoinette-rich. 

WBEZ Chicago. (2020, June 3). How the Green Line, a pink house and 12 cents changed how I see my city. Unequal Home Lending In Chicago’s Austin Neighborhood. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://interactive.wbez.org/2020/banking/pinkhouse/. 

Wingard, M. (2021, August 20). Austin: Neighborhoods: Chicago by ‘L’. WTTW Chicago. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://interactive.wttw.com/chicago-by-l/neighborhoods/austin. 

Cloud Envy

By Atlas Quest

CW // Suicide: This poem includes discussion on suicidal feelings.

I’m a lazy piece of shit

I don’t know why

My motivation often left without reply

Whole room be on fire

My mind says I’m fine

Playing video games till a quarter past five

Straight in the morning would you look at the time

Days being wasted

They lapse they go by

Stuck in this cycle for 3 65

Death on the mind like winter 15

With dreams of a king

But he ain’t have a life

He wanted stages to sing

But what would he write

No one wants to hear about a kid

Stuck in his room

Scared of the lights

Who hasn’t opened his eyes

Who won’t go out to live

But he’s too scared to die

Is this how you get your name shining in lights

Is this how you make sure that your family right

The kids stuck to the screen

Empty mind

Shallow eyes

Staring empty

The only thing on his mind

Is the kills on his team

Playing Call of Duty

And when he gon eat

AYE you listening?

Yeah but can we just watch the clouds fly by?

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, there are a number of prevention resources available including:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Crisis Textline: text NAMI to 741-741-24/7
Text message support for those in crisis

CARES800-345-9049
Mental health evaluation and services, including a crisis hotline, for youth as well as adults with Medicaid.

Being Black in America

By king Moosa

Being Black in America, I preserver but I swear it’s barley bearable 


Don’t worry you won’t have to break down parables 


They talked building walls but never broke down barriers 


Cigarettes can even get you choked out for carrying


Beware of the court house those streets will try and marry ya


Kidnap you, slave you ,then raise you! Then once it’s done throw you back to your family to burry ya!


Attempts at redemption blocked by never ending restrictions 


These permanent punishments of being Black in this prison 


Detaching from living in order to see tomorrow 


“Surviving”


Lost find their way to a church just to get gunned down

 
She ignores her son’s  cries as if she forgot how her son sounds 


This is how it feels being Black from these trump towns.

13 Summers

By King Moosa

Swollen throat, rusted chain attached to the handcuff of my left wrist,

Me and my mama a mental mess, that’s when a detective walks in saying, “Sorry, Ms. Harrington but transport is here, Please say yo final goodbyes.”

We screamed; we yelled out; and we cried all out of fear of an uncertain tomorrow,

That night I seen a grief from my queen never before seen, only fourteen!!!

I began to play a game with the Devil Of Confusion (d.o.c.), and by time I came to and was already losing I was already lost,

Seventeen sitting in Menard, a maximum security prison at the bottom of Illinois,

The cell had a strong basement smell, walls was sweating, it felt like I was placed in hell, hot!

Yet we had to learn how to sleep through the most chilling noise, nightmarish screeching schrills you shouldn’t have to hear as a boy,

Empty soul so mama sent pics to fill in the void, but sometimes seeing good times can be like what I imagine it would be like sitting in hell hallucinating that u hear a sickling noise.

Somewhere

By King Moosa

Some where in America grief paints the pavement of a kids playground, once bright smiles have turned into slight grins, somewhere in America!

There is a Black woman pouring fear into her sons psyche, as nightly clips on the news display a thousand ways to lose her son,

Policy stagnates the potential of our tomorrow,

Designed oppression has turned my preschool into a funeral home,

Somewhere right now there is man attempting to raise his child through a prison phone, 

Somewhere in America there is a city where cops shoot first, and without second thought, judges sentence children  like they are adults,

State lined with people who served state time, seeking  relief from this permanent punishment,

These hate crimes, somewhere! 

Somewhere in America, Willie’s residue is sticking to a kids rib, alive and well but rears his head only once he becomes a man inside a jail, with no voice they try and yell, but Willie knows No Vote means That he can thrive in cells.

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