Writing: ‘Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!’ by Albert De Los Santos Rodriguez

This piece placed third for high school writing submissions in the Ánimo Voices Writing and Art Competition, which invited students to consider a change they’d like to see in their community or the world and to convince an audience, through any genre of writing or visual medium, of the importance of this change. The competition was an opportunity to motivate, recognize, and celebrate our strong student voices through writing and art.

Animo Voices


By Albert De Los Santos Rodriguez
Ánimo Inglewood Charter High School

Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!

One shot, two shot, three shot, four,

How many kills until there’s no more?

“He had a gun, that’s why we shot.”

Well, he dropped so why didn’t you stop?

The first couple of times we made it a big deal, now it happens every day and brings no appeal.

852 times this has been done!

In the following years, how many more are to come?

We protest all the time so we’re seen the same, but every time it ends with no change.

Now we can’t see you as we did before,

So when will you realize blacks can’t walk freely anymore?

From police brutality, 2.5 more times the black man is to die, that’s not hard to believe,

because the white man in the power suit is most likely seen.

“It was an accident. I didn’t mean to.” Or is it a reflex, because that’s what you always do?

We understand you were scared, but that’s not the way it had to go,

because every day there’s a black man who doesn’t make it home.

The white man walks easily with nothing to worry for,

How about we let blacks feel that a little bit more.

But for now, you see a black boy litter so you pull out your taser,

And you apologize when he can’t move twenty days later.

The white kid did it, too, and you said,

“Eh it’s fine I’ll give you a warning, the trash men will pick it up tomorrow morning.”

Then you laughed it off and paid it no mind,

But the black mom is crying because her kid doesn’t have much time.

Promise me next time you will think of us as equal and not different,

So black and white friendships aren’t distant.

Let’s not fight violence with violence, let’s fight it with peace,

we’ll listen to you officer if you listen to us please.

Maybe when it’s all over we can look back and smile,

and know that we together made peace for at least a little while.

There’s no reason to say “Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!”,

Because shooting is something you never need to do.

Why don’t you say “Calm down, it’s ok”,

So both blacks and whites can live yet another day.

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