Youth For Social Justice


For the past month Shoesmith students have been going virtual! Despite the COVID 19 shelter-at-home order, students are still learning and writing poetry using Google Classroom. For their first virtual lesson we explored poetry about social justice. Social Justice is the equal rights and opportunities that are supposed to be given to people living within a society. But what if  these rights were taken away?

Students read Mahogany L. Browne’s  social justice poem “In the Next.” Browne incorporates metaphors and similes, comparing freedom to a song “everyone should be able to sing,” and how the good life smells like “true freedom.”

Inspired by Browne, students wrote social justice poems, that reflect their own thoughts and ideas about issues they believe affect our world. Enjoy these published poems.


Ms. Wesson 5th Grade
Group 1


Treating Others Respectfully
Joshua G.

All humans deserve to be respected  and stay safe.
We are others’ source of light when it comes up to emotions.
We can’t steal their spotlight.
Its like judging a book by its cover.

Victims feel like insects,
just not cared for and stepped on.
They are shut down by others.
They are becoming robotic.

We can’t just think that the persecutor is going to stop.
We should stand up for ourselves.
Go to somebody who you’re comfortable with talking to.
Someone who you know would handle the problem.


London R.

Bullying is like an infection,
that can spread.
Bullying is like a train that goes around
in circles, cause people sometimes get bullied
and then bully someone else.

Bullying people because of small differences.
That’s not good at all.
Bullying takes lives some days.
So stop the bullying and the pain please.

If people stop bullying people because of small differences.
The world could be a more welcoming place.
So the earth wouldn’t be crying over all the bullying
and pain.

And the school will be a happy place, because
there would be no more bullying.


Landon W.

Man we got to stay home its killing so many people.
I can’t see none of my family, cause its a global crisis.
When will we go out again? People keep leaving the

This ain’t no joke, it be spreading like wildfire.
It’s so bad, that it took over NYC. People need
to stay in cause it ain’t getting better nowhere.

All we need to do is stay inside, wash your hands,
and let the compromised people stay in. So it gets
better. Don’t go nowhere.


Ms. Wesson 5th Grade
Group 2


Kaidyn F.

The curves and the long flowing hair.
The nails and the time consuming makeup.
Underneath it all is a “weak and fragile organism.”
Weak as an ant.
Fragile like a flower.
Known to suck as sports.
Known to do hair.
Also known as a

We try to change your outlook on women.
With excessive but meaningless accessories.
But it never changes.
And needs to change.
Not tomorrow or the next week, but today.
We shouldn’t have to be defined.
The way you see us.
Everyone should be able to define themselves.


Logan M.

Some people cannot afford a house.
They have to live outside like a mouse.
But they don’t get much help.

If they live outside, they can’t live inside
during quarantine.
They get wet as a fish in the rain,
And cold as a featherless penguin in the snow.

Maybe we could give them help.
Not so you can get likes on Tiktok.
But so you can help and hope.


Jaylon M.

Race is a topic we always see all the time.
I go to the stores and people watch me.
We get pulled over for no reason.
Its like they want to cage us up like animals.
Oh wait, that’s what they call us.

This needs to stop. All the arrests, all the murders,
that was “self defense.” I shouldn’t have to go
outside and talk differently or else I’ll be judged.
Don’t you know. That’s a crime. Oh wait, its not.

All you have to do is come together.
And stop all the hate, stop the name calling.

If it all stops that’s one more step to the world becoming great.


Ms. Henry 6th Grade
Group 1


They Are My People  
Khalil H.

 These are my people getting scared.
These are my people getting threatened.
Getting killed.
What’s the issue?
Well, the issue is racism.
we are getting treated wrong, like we
are something not living.

This is important
because we don’t want to be treated like this.
We want freedom,
We want peace and respect.

We are being treated like animals.
But we continue to fight for our rights.
In the future we will all stand as one and hold hands
These are my people.
Who continue to rise.
Despite the struggle.


Women Are
Gaida P.

 Women are told to act a certain way,
be as proper as a princess and as neat as a housewife.
Be quiet as a mouse, speak only when spoken to.
One wrong move and the entire school is laughing at you.
“Girls are stupid,” and you made me cry.

Everyone says it’s a joke until it’s not.
We laugh out loud but it burns inside.
When I share my truth you say I’m weak.
The cuts on my arms burn me.
I throw up my food, you called me fat.

Take caution to your words please.
We are humans, not your objects.
You’ll treat me with love, care and warmth.
Soon you’ll apologize, and it’ll be okay.
I dream of a world with better days.


Let People Live Their Life
Jade T.

People are sad.
Wondering why other people act bad towards
them because of their race.
They wish things could change.

This has affected a lot of people.
People get killed because of their race.
They get hated on.
It’s like war.

We could all come together and protest.
Support people.
Let people that are getting mistreated live
their lives. They don’t want to live like this.
We could all make better choices.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.