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Hamilton High School Stands Up Against Budget Cuts

Mar 30, 2011 | Updated May 30, 2011

This poem was performed on March 18, 2011, when Hamilton High School students staged a walk-out in protest of budget cuts.

Hamilton High School

What does your love look like?

Tell me

Does it look like Genesis

When the world exploded at the seams with fire

And named its passions volcanoes

Hamilton is your love like oceans?

So obsessed that it covers a marble in the universe with 70 percent of its body?

What is the name of your love Hamilton?

Is it Marching Band?

Is it Drama?

Is it Choir?

Do you call it dance or musical?

Do you hold her close like the world's last cello?

Or offer him your best lung through a flute?

Hamilton?

Are you in love with your education?

Are you in love with your art?

Tell me Hamilton

When we came back to school this September

And our class sizes were so large not everyone could be seated at a desk

Did we not beg for mercy then?

When our janitors went missing

And our electives were dismissed

When our teachers took more furlough then their households could carry

And when seniors looked to a college counselor

And found her office vacant

Did we not pray then?

Hamilton

Have we not suffered enough in love?

Are we tired enough of begging Sacramento for mercy yet?

When they threatened to severe

The part of your heart that sings the loudest

What did you do?

When they stuck up our directors and teachers with pink slips

And shot bullets through our younger siblings aspirations

What did you do Hamilton?

Tell me of the martyr you discovered in yourself

The revolutionaries we raised out of Facebook pages

I want to know how many letters, emails and phone calls we fired back

We went to war for love didn't we Hamilton?

Tell me what you did

So I can repeat it loud and clear for the Republicans in Sacramento

Who don't believe in us

The ones who are more interested in investing money in state prisons than in education

The ones who said cutting correction funding would lead to local sheriffs

Releasing inmates just for the hell of it

As if the same thing won't happen to high school diplomas

As if high school dropout rates don't project how many prison cells need to be built in the FIRST place

But then again they have never had children that attended public schools

So why on earth would they care about what happens to us?

Hamilton

We care about what happens to us

We care about the generation behind us

Because we know that art sustains a society in the midst of turmoil

We have attended enough History classes to know

What pain birthed the Harlem renaissance, hip-hop, country, blues and rock

We are the most diverse school in the county

We are in furious love Hamilton

Because we know that art and education

Is the only thing that makes Los Angeles's School District Unified

The Fight does not stop here Hamilton

We will keep fighting this weekend

Republicans are gone on their convention

That means they're going to be pressured from every side NOT to put tax-extensions on the ballot

And that means

That we will keep emailing and calling so that when they come back on Monday

They will know that we weren't sleeping all weekend

It is not convenient for us to be here on a Friday

We are not here because it is convenient

We are here because we care

They believe we are a tragedy

We are not a tragedy

We are America's LAST hope for opportunity

Let them know