Writing: ‘The People of Our Countries’ by Emily Rodriguez-Ibanez

This piece placed second for high school writing submissions in the 2022 Ánimo Voices Writing and Art Competition, which invited students to respond to the open prompt “I’ve Got Something to Say.” The competition is an opportunity to motivate, recognize, and celebrate our strong student voices through writing, spoken word, and art.

Emily Rodriguez Ibanez


By Emily Rodriguez-Ibanez
Ánimo Pat Brown Charter High School

The People of Our Countries


The women of our countries

Are forced to give up their opportunity to thrive

They spend their hours working behind the machines In order to support their family of nine

The children of our countries

 sell flowers on the side of the street

Giving up their childhood and not attending school

In order to make ends meet The men of our countries

Work hours on end for minimum pay Using their rough hands to prosper

Not knowing if they have enough for the next day

But I've got something to say

The people of our countries

Who are hardworking with no guarantees

Fight an endless war

In the attempt of escaping to the land of the free Still they always hear the same song

They risk their lives for safety yet they are told Go back to where you belong

The people of our countries sing a never ending song

The wails of children in detention centers

Hours under sun causing pure agony

Until we fight for our immigrant brothers and sisters

The world will strain further from harmony