Jose Bello, a Bakersfield College student who was detained Wednesday for the second time, shared this poem at Kern’s Truth Act Forum Monday.
Our administration has failed.
They passed laws against our people,
Took away our rights and our freedom,
and still expect to be hailed?
You and your administration cause fear,
fear through Separation.
Instead of building trust with our people, do y’all prefer this racial tension?
I live my life in frustration,
Private Prisons, political funding, mass incarceration.
You make the connections.
I speak for the victims that pay for this scam,
Vietnamese, Jamaican, African, Cambodian, Mexican, Salvadorian and on and on.
Together we stand.
We demand our respect. We want our dignity back!
Our roots run deep in this country.
Now that’s a true fact.
You might be asking yourself, “What’s the whole point of repeating these facts?”
Well I am here to let you know, we want to feel safe, whether we’re Brown, Asian or Black.
We don’t want your jobs. We don’t want your money. Were here to work hard, pay taxes and study!
The fight has begun.
“We will never be apart chiquito,” is what I promised my son.
Y’all can try to justify your actions. Try to make excuses.
The bottom line here is that at the end, the people always triumph and the government loses.
Do not consider this a threat.
Our intentions are to continue making this country great.
It’s time to begin standing up for what’s right.
Criminalizing children, separating families, our national security, does this make it all right?
No, it doesn’t, and it won’t.
The youth has to stand up. We have to unite with our peers.
Let’s begin educating our children. Speak wisdom into their ears.
Because at the end of the day,
I am you and you are me.
Together we are!
Featured photo by Henry Barrios. Jose Bello, 21, was picked up by ICE agents in 2018 in what became an ordeal that continues today. He stands in from of Mesa Verde Detention Facility on Golden State Avenue in Bakersfield where he was detained as his immigration case started through the system.
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South Kern Sol is a youth-led journalism organization in Kern County. In their stories, youth reporters shine light on health and racial disparities in under-served communities across Kern. For more stories by South Kern Sol, head to southkernsol.org.