By Randy Villegas
Ed. Note. This piece was read at South Kern Sol’s Youth Summer Arts Festival on July 7, 2016 in Rexland Acres Park.
Bear with me as I tell you the struggle of a child growing up in South Kern.
Where statistics are piled against them, and reflected in the average earn.
You see half of all residents live below 150 percent of the federal poverty line,
And some politicians just shrug their shoulders and think it’s fine.
In a community where the average individual only earns about $11,000 a year…
Barely enough to scrape by, it’s enough sadness to bring a tear.
But you see, things aren’t only like this in South Kern; but other communities all throughout the state.
The conditions people live in, is something that we can all understand and relate.
In an election cycle filled with racism, finger pointing and blame, it’s a shame to see people wanting to discriminate.
Against a person’s race, immigration status, or sexuality. It’s why we’re gathered here to stop the hate.
We’re here gathered to show unity in our community, to show we will not be divided.
To help educate those with hate in their hearts, to show them they’ve been misguided.
We embrace those in our community, no matter their skin color, who they love, their size big or small…
Because we’re all human at the end of the day, and we need to break down these walls.
To embrace our differences, to share the love, and say we want a better future for our youth.
We’ll get loud for education over mass incarceration, and an end for private prison detention.
We’ll get loud for immigration, LGBTQ rights, our freedoms, and other issues mentioned.
We stand here together to support the arts and culture, and why we need to invest in our youth.
There is beauty within each and every one of us, there’s no doubt that’s the truth.
We need to invest in our youth, invest in our kids so they have the opportunity to succeed.
Where they’ll later give back to their community, and inspire more youth, planting a seed.
We’ve got to open the door to a classroom and college education instead of a jail.
To show that poor kid that he should apply to every college, and chase his dreams at Yale.
I’m speaking to every politician out there that holds the power to invest in our youth…
To think about our future, because we will be there in November, at the voting booth.