African-American teenagers who won a Martin Luther King Day poetry contest in Milwaukee talk in their works of death and apathy.
At a King Day breakfast, the award-winners read their poems. Olivia Bell called hers, ‘The Struggle’: “Let these words heal the wounds made by bullets in my fellow brothers and sisters / Let those guns be made into bandages that heal the community instead of breaking it apart.”
Dominique Fortune read from her poem, ‘Courage to Care’: “Another one dead. Another tear shed. One more bullet. One less life. Someone's husband. Someone's wife.”
But in his poem called “Quiet Behind Locked Doors,” Chris Fears spoke of public indifference to society's problems: “Apathy and ignorance has a cunning way of wrapping its cold hands around the neck of cowards. / It chokes the life out of hope / and steals the vision from the dreams of liberty and justice for all.”
Milwaukee officials say there's a reason for the bleak themes. Of the 92 homicides in the city last year, close to half of the victims were between the ages of 17 and 29.