Ode to Prop 17 and the Sweetness of Second Chances

Donney Rose
Nov 4, 2020 - 3:55

The North Star is a network of Black and Latinx journalists and creators that provide daily news stories and podcasts with action steps that help you get involved. We speak truth to power without fear because our stories, our voices and our lives matter. Please consider becoming a member and enjoy exclusive benefits of our ad-free platform for as little as $5 a month.

In a history-making Election Day decision, California voters voted to pass a measure restoring the right to vote for felons on parole. 

The measure, known as Proposition 17 (Prop 17), will change the state’s constitution to restore voting rights to an estimated 50,000 formerly incarcerated people. Supporters of the measure believe that those who will be most impacted have paid their debts to society and should be able to choose their community’s representatives and decide on policies that affect their daily lives.

This is an ode to Prop 17 and the sweetness of second chances:

When I first heard the word     [recidivism]
I remember being drawn to
the musicality in its intonation
and ruined by
how often its definition materialized
in the fates of boys who
tried being better

Recidivism is the tendency of a convicted criminal to re-offend
or the hunger from empty cells
waiting to be filled with flesh
recidivism is…
the dinner bell of salivating metal
or the certainty of an economy
growing plumper by
feeding off the harvest of
prison labor

The opposite of recidivism is…
family photos that everyone is in
an unsupervised walk
a conversation uninterrupted by
waning minutes on a calling card
or a shower in complete solitude

The opposite of being
property of the state
is being able to decide
on the ways the state
handles those it ensnares
it is an unshackled hand
casting a ballot for the first time
or a reunion of citizenship

All praises to the sweetness of second chances
the nectar of new beginnings
the power of choices within our control
May our next time
always be our best time
may we never remain chained
to our worst moments.

Leave a Reply

Become a member and join TheNorthStar

Join Over 25, 000 members from all 50 states and 100+ countries to
help build and sustain the most courageous Community of liberation
journalism in the world.

More From The North Star

March on Washington 2020 Live...

March on Washington 2020 Live Blog: Thousands Gather in D.C. to End Police Brutality...Read More

Maria Perez, Nicole Rojas & Micah Schaffer

SHAUN KING: Gary Chambers Is...

SHAUN KING: Gary Chambers Is the Revolutionary Candidate We Need...Read More

Shaun King

Bijan Ghaisar Shooting:...

Bijan Ghaisar Shooting: Justice Department Joins Defense Team of Two Police Officers Who Fatally Shot 25-Year-Old in 2017...Read More

Nicole Rojas

See more articles from Donney Rose

Follow Donney Rose to see more of their article on TheNorth