In conjunction with the German American Heritage Center's current exhibition The White Rose: The Student Resistance Against Hitler, Munich 1942-1943, the Davenport venue sponsored a poetry contest seeking original works inspired by the theme of “resistance.” All individuals chosen for the slam were between 13 and 20 years of age, with their poems five minutes or less in length, and the contest winners received $100 as compensation for their entries. With the kind permission of the GAHC and the authors, here are the remainder of winning entries, with four additional poems found at “Words of Resistance: Part I” and “Words of Resistance: Part II.”
Anjuli Kranz, 13 years old, Williams Intermediate
We fight to survive in a harsh world
We put our keys between our fingers when we walk just to feel safe
We took the hate.
Body shamed every day.
We took the hate
Fighting the urge to cry
We took the hate
We live with abuse from insecure babies thinking they are men
We took the hate
But no longer.
We won't take the hate
We won't let men take advantage of us
We won't take the hate
We wanted to get our rights
For so long we fought
Just for society to laugh in our faces
We won't take the hate any more.
We waited to vote, do taxes and land
No longer will we wait for men to give us permission.
We will take what's ours.
We will resist.
a., 15 years old, West High School
We resist against the regime,
Despite the danger.
We could be caught any moment.
We drop leaflets everywhere. In the mail. On walls. From the sky. In attempts to inform people
of the reality that we face.
They wouldn't trust us.
It isn't foolproof. It is proof of fools.
Eventually, we fall. Everyone does. That's how life is.
But we did what we wanted to do and more.
Georgia Hayden, 13 years old, Sudlow
We explain why we’re like this,
just to be discriminated against.
They make us feel like we’re the
problem when it’s them who can’t
see the real humans we still are.
Us, this community isn’t different,
but unique and unnatural,
Those words don’t mean “bad”
it’s just another way of describing ones
true beauty with a lawful twist.
If you find that wrong, you
research non factual articles mocking
us and how we are.
Now that’s when you’ve gone too far.
We didn’t give in, nor give any
less effort to win.
People still face hatred despite the law,
We gave the effort to fix things, we
didn’t give in,
Yet we don’t win.
The picture perfect side is not the reality,
But instead everyone has to fight for
Many businesses still remain
inaccessible to people with disabilities.
That’s like being handed a canvas and
The telling another person to build
They have this miraculous advantage and they
start to realize they can teroize and
come for the ones that don’t.
Bystanders don’t understand anything when
it comes to this injustice, we feel as were
being looked down upon for being different.
We are declined jobs or, were
not always granted them.
These privileged people get things handed
right to them,
while we needed a law just to have
accessible buses to those who need it.
People are sometimes unsatisfied with
or their placement treats them unfairly.
After all this time these people who
resisted to be discriminated against got
And that’s just something to be aware of
Even though it was only passed thirty
two years ago, they are already trying
to ignore it.
They have noticed the fact they can get
away with these forgotten bits…
Mahiela Hewitt, 17 years old, Rock Island High School
Am I Wrong?
I ask after every argument
Should I leave?
Words that flow out my mouth almost like it's on repeat
Why are you already unhinged,
What did I do wrong?
I put my hand out for help and you smack it down
The word "help" races through my mind
Is this abuse?
No, it can't be it's my fault,
My fault, this again
Why do I think it's my fault
I'm trapped, locked in my own cell
I can't leave I'm scared of what's to come
Will he have an outburst
Will I stay trapped
Even if I leave I still have me
My mind, the thoughts, the fears
the things I'm too scared to do like run.
Run, run away
Spencer Powell, 13 years old, Sudlow Intermediate
On the boat…
On the.. Boat
They laid there on the boat
Crying,lying and dying
Trading just trading they said
People fighting trying to survive
Ancestors written in memory of the past
The day that is not gone a day people remember
Though a tough subject and we have thought
Will never know the true sacrifices they have fought
But thats not the only slavery there was
1526 to 1867
Men women children alike all sacrificed not just in one night
They tried to run tried to resist
But in that time there was a light there were still people
Who fought for a right
Just a few names fought for liberty
Just a few names who fought for justice
Thomas clarkson saw the challenge
Though he still fought to infringe what he saw
He traveled the lands
And traveled far he found the purpose
The end of the circus
He had the idea
An idea that fought the tyranny he saw
So he got the captains the crew and the original workers
He put great risk
And traveled the lengths
But at the end he found the passion
He found what was wrong
What was depleted
He got witnesses and found what would beat em!
He wrote a book
The History, Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament
Chronicled what he saw
He helped put an end to this mass mutiny
Though they were still hurt, hurt brutally
She knew the troubles and knew them well
And the trouble that would entail
After being a slave
And trying to escape she failed
But did not let her differences erase
She kept on fighting
And fighting she shall
She went public with what her past created
And helped end the fight
To get her right
Was a slave beaten and treatin like a cattle
And all you could hear sounds like a rattle
He wrote a story
And wrote it well
About the kidnapping
He was trapped and captured
Taken from his home
No more never again never will he see his home again
Just imagine being stripped away from the land you love not knowing what happened
By someone with power
They crossed the water just like slimes
How was this not a crime
Just forced to buy freedom he was meant to have
So he wrote some books and fought
William cowper was a man
A poet of sorts and wrote many he did
He lived and sorts
With what he could write
And fought ideas
fought, fought all of these people fought, though not together they created a bond
Not knowing each other but knowing by fame their resistance worked well but not well enough
It did not end the battle so let's all let out a huff
Your mind is running and running your mind is racing like a treadmill
Your reading or listening to these words and in these feelings you may
Feel remorse love anger
For these people who spent their lives fighting for something they shouldn't have needed to fight in the first place
These were superheroes not ones people knew they needed
Kids sit through there language arts class remembering what happened in the past not even
150 years ago in which people still stand up to fight
So all the people who fought through history
Deserves that liberty
these were all people who fought very well though people still face troubles with nowadays ideas so let's all use this poem to find a new way we are on the right track but there is still
racism that people deal with
don't be a bystander you have to help
So if you see one person doing horrible horrendous things think of this
And this of “resistance”
The White Rose: The Student Resistance Against Hitler, Munich 1942-1943 will be on display at the German American Heritage Center from through February 12, with regular venue hours Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Exhibit entrance is free with $3-5 museum admission, and more information is available by calling (563)322-8844 and visiting GAHC.org.