Social Justice Poetry

Shawn Aveningo

A Mother’s Dream | A Social Justice Poem by Shawn Aveningo

I remember it like it was yesterday,
bringing my two identical bundles
home from the hospital. It was Spring, in Atlanta.
I remember rocking them each night
into the wee hours of the morning
blanketing them in as much joy,
pride a mother could possibly secrete,
attempting to feed them a lifetime of confidence
so that when the day came for them to fly,
they would soar, knowing they are always loved.

Every time a mother gives birth,
she gives birth to two dreams:
the dream that evolves within the soul of that child,
to be a firefighter, a dancer or a teacher.
And the dream that never changes,
the one that’s formed with the first fetal flutter,
cemented with the sound of her baby’s first cry,
that dream for her child to be healthy,
happy, loved.

So you see, I have a dream.
I have a dream that every child grows up
in a world, in a country, in a state,
secure that she is free to love
whomever she chooses.
I have a dream where “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
simply becomes, “It Don’t Matter”.
What matters is what’s in your heart,
not what’s written or interpreted
to be true in a book.
What matters is the commitment,
the affection, the devotion,
between two beings,
no matter in what skin color, body shape,
or gender they reside.
What matters is love… period.

You see, it’s time I finally took a stand,
speak up to make you understand
because my daughters deserve
to walk hand in hand
with the one they love
just as my son walks today
in our supposed land
of the free.

You see, he has that privilege without contest or debate,
without the interference of homegrown hate
or those so ignorant they think they can pray the slate
clean of DNA, the very genes that seal our fate,
signal to our hearts who we want to date,
as we meander through this jungle for our one true love.

I mean, isn’t that what we all want in the first place?
Surely, love means more than just the ability to procreate.

I think it’s high time we unite,
we unite in this battle, this fight
the next chapter in pursuit of equal rights,
for all our children.

Because my children
and your children
deserve to live the dream,
to be healthy, to be happy
and above all

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Just Another Day | A Social Justice Poem by Shawn Aveningo

“Must the hunger become anger and the anger fury, before anything will be done?” John Steinbeck

Another night of dreams upon corrugated pillows—survived,
mother and child in their daily trek to Loaves and Fishes,

line stretching ‘round a city block. Escalades flaunting
Jesus Fish, Little Nemo playing on flip-down plasmas,

unload youngsters in tartan skirts & poplin blouses. “Ma’am
could you spare a little change?” echoes from the shadows

to those who are deaf to their cries. The cries of infants with
bellies swollen from hunger, mothers too famished to produce

nature’s nourishment, fathers desperate, ashamed. Hunger
to anger. Anger to Fury. Fury to blood spilled on the streets.

Public outcries as pie charts in papers show crime on the rise.
It’s November. Politicians’ promises tallied. Soon bells ring,

coins collect in red buckets, ‘tis the season for giving. Until
Spring cleaning sweeps poverty under the rug as CPA’s tally

charity on Schedule A’s. Just another day in paradise.

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