What Room Does Fear Have?

In June 2016, our second group of 8th graders graduated Community Roots.  Below is the poem that a few students shared, written by Jon Jorgenson, the ending of which was adapted by a few of our students to depict their time at Community Roots.   Our 8th graders recited this poem at graduation: 

I used to be afraid at night.

 Afraid of the dark.

 Afraid that just beyond the point my eyesight allowed me to see that there was something lurking.

 Afraid that the darkness itself would somehow surround me and swallow me up...

as if darkness were anything more than simply

the absence of

light.

 I used to be afraid of tomorrow. Afraid that who I was would continually dictate who I am and that who I would be might be someone who I didn't like very much at all...as if there was no such thing as being made new.

 I used to be afraid of opinions. Afraid that though words would not break my bones, they certainly would shatter my dreams...as if I started doing this for the approval of many rather than the glory of one.

 I used to be afraid of failure. Afraid of losing. Afraid of falling. Afraid of being wrong, creating busts, and looking absolutely stupid because who am I to think that I could ever actually make a difference? As if those setbacks were anything more than stepping stones on the path to success.

 We used to be afraid.  

 Used to.

 But then I did a little research.

 And by that, I mean I re-searched, and

 I re-searched,

 I re-searched,

 And I re-searched

 over and over again, and through all of my re-searching, I kept coming up with the same exact question:

 What room does fear have?

 What room does fear have when I cling to trust?

 What room does fear have when I lean on hope?

 What room does fear have when I search for something more,

 When I discover what's good, and when I stand in awe?

 When I run with perseverance,

 When I walk by faith, and when I rest in comfort.

 What room does fear have when I surrounded by love,

 When I take hold of inspiration, explore the possibilities, and step into freedom?

 What room does fear have when I discover strength,

 embrace courage,

 remember peace,

 Declare truth,

 Choose joy,

 Experience life

 what room does fear have

 I'll ask you again: what room does fear have

 When I step out of the darkness, and I bask in the light?

 When I let the past be the past and the future has no limit.

 When they can talk all they want but their opinion doesn't matter!

 And when failure is nothing more and nothing less than the road by which I walk my path to success.

 What room does fear have when I have?

 Allies

 What room does fear have when I am an advocate not just for myself but my community members?

 What room does fear have?

 When I am an

 up stander

 Because we refuse to be

 bystanders

 in the face of

 injustice.

 What room does fear have when I have to?

 Think for myself

 Succeed

 Grow

 Love

 Teach

 Guide

 Inspire

 Choose

 Participate

 Lead

 And CHANGE

 What

 room

 does fear

 have?

 NONE