Before seventeen-year-old Jessica Hernandez became a household name after she was shot to death by Denver officers while in a stolen car, she was part of Art From Ashes, a local program -- and MasterMind Award winner -- that works with at-risk youth through creative-empowerment workshops.
Here are two of the poems Hernandez wrote while with that group: See also: Best Therapeutic Poetry Organization -- Art From Ashes
3 Minute Poem My mother taught me yellow and red She taught me The right words My manners How to be generous And how to be happy How to smile at the worst times She taught me all I know now And she also taught me to be patient And not to hurt others If they're not hurting me But there's one thing she taught me the most Is how to look joyful And to respect things that are not mine
The dance my father taught me was some type of dance! He taught me how to stomp my feet with combos And how to keep his tradition going He taught me all the kicks he did I learned them And now I could probably knock someone out With a kick Because he got me to working on my legs... -- Jessica Hernandez, 2014
I Seem to Be, But Really I Am, and I Choose to Be I am kind and respectful Others see me as a disrespectful teenager That just likes to get in trouble But really I am a kid that wants a good education My parents see me as an irresponsible child But really I am taking care of other things I don't want trouble They see me as a mean kid with a lot of hate But really I like to be nice and loving
I seem to be a fighter Someone who doesn't like connections It seems I don't want peace But really I am outgoing I like to play sports I wanna get my education I like to smell good and look nice I can soon buy myself a bike And my own car once I get a good job But really I do want peace Where there is no violence I really don't want to fight I really would love to have connections with everybody Without any trouble I love having people around to get to know them
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I choose to be kind to others I don't know I choose to be loud at points I choose to be happy, smiling all the time I choose to be a good student Even if that doesn't get me any friends I choose to be anything, if it's a good thing That I know won't get me in trouble sometimes I choose to be the big sister for all my younger siblings I choose to be a good role model from now on Even if temptations are in the way I choose to live a good teenage life -- Jessica Hernandez, 2013