What is Courage?

You may know me as a writer, but I am also well known for my advocacy work with the juvenile justice system and the foster care system. I previously wrote an article about art as a form of therapy. I also use my art to reach an audience and deliver a message. I wrote this piece, “Courage,” for the youth who are incarcerated. I wanted to educate them while also entertaining them.

I have performed this piece all over L.A County, in places like Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall through the Spirit Awakening Foundation, the Rightway Foundation, National Foster Youth Institute, and more. It is a very well known piece I perform through my advocacy work. I wanted to share it with my readers on The Chronicle of Social Change. I hope you enjoy it.

What is courage?

Courage is standing up for what you believe in

Courage is turning an enemy into a friend

Courage is learning to avoid a dead-end that will lead you to the PEN

What is pain?

Pain is silence

Pain is violence

Pain is a lost soul without guidance

Trying to find a way, listen to what I say

And let my words take you away.

You are more that what people say

If you can look in the mirror everyday

and say hey I love you, even if nobody else do I do.

Say no I’m not perfect but I’m worth it

So find your worth and work it

We get distracted, by negative things that attracted

Like drugs, money and bad habits

In bad habitats we learn to adapt too

School is not an option

Which is why most kids won’t go to college

Cause their parents rather be their potnas

Oh it gets deep

The power of these words

As free as a bird that’s sitting on the curb

Like when your mom say you get on my last nerves

And we think do she really means this

Even though we know it’s not true

We need to change our oppressed minds

And shift our paradigms

Because they have brainwashed us with lies

And will never apologize

Instead they traumatize our people

Take them from broken homes

And place them into a broken system

And expect this to fix them

No, no, no not no more

It’s time to educate the poor

Stand up if you want more

Are you receptive to what I’m saying?

Are you taking it all in?

Don’t fall before you stand

stand up for what you believe in

And do it all again

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Johna Rivers
About Johna Rivers 3 Articles
Johna Rivers is a 22-year-old activist who rose above her circumstances as a foster youth and beat the statistics. She is co-founder of the first ever film festival for young people, creating a platform for young kids to highlight issues plaguing their communities locally or globally. She has traveled to Africa and Brazil, and is a powerhouse making moves to create change.

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