- + - Basic Math - + -

Poem read at the June 27 rally at Wiley Park in Freedmen's Town/Fourth Ward in conjunction with UH Graduate School of Social Work and Kensington Welfare Rights Union

Oh, Mayor Brown! Oh, Mayor Brown!
The sky is falling down --
Upon my Fourth Ward neighborhood
That borders on downtown.

Oh Mayor Brown! I can't skip out
	Of working at a school
To come by City Council
	And ask you to renounce all
The plans of redevelopers
	That disobey the rules.

How can I teach my Fourth Ward kids
	The basic rules of math,
When budgets seem to multiply
	For housing cut in half?

Can I teach kids on Andrews Street
	The concept of addition -
If all they see around them is
	Subtraction and division?

What will they learn of justice
	And common decency,
If poor folks still do all the work
To serve their close-knit neighborhood,
While public funds are eaten up
	By outside agencies?

How can we speak of anything
	But "inequality"
If money gives authority
	To demolish whole communities,
Outweighing people's equal right
	To assemble peaceably?

Oh Jew Don Boney, John Castillo,
	Councilmember Todd --
What lessons shall we teach our youth:
	To seek the truth of God?
To have respect for history?
	Compassion for the elderly?
Or shall we leave a legacy
	Of lies, deceit, and fraud?

Oh Felix Fraga, Martha Wong,
	Carroll and Calloway --
Can we teach children right from wrong
If grown-ups either break the law
	Or look the other way?

Dear Mayor Brown, please tell me how
Accounting should be taught
	To little Fourth Ward children
Who watch as multi-millions
	Are siphoned off civilians,
The waiting list for shelter grows,
	While sturdy houses row by row
Are razed to empty lots.

Oh, Mayor Brown! Oh, Mayor Brown!
The roof is coming down!
On our oldest African neighborhood
That once was Freedmen's Town.

No, Mayor Brown, we can't leave out
The children of Fourth Ward
	Who want to save their neighborhood,
For if their voices go unheard
	How can our young ones ever learn
That everybody counts?

Please endorse the Youth Master Plan for Fourth Ward:
Click here for list of grievances and violations regarding public housing residents.
[Another Poem] [Fourth Ward Petitions][Fourth Ward Songs]
[Fourth Ward Index][Houston Progressive Index]