Congratulations to 6th graders Will Cook and Mateo Rodriguez; their Epic Poem, “Demos Kratia”, is being used by The Academy of American Democracy to inspire other students. The Academy reached out to Will and Mateo’s teachers to ask if their poem could be used as an example for other AAD students. We are all very proud of the great work done by Will and Mateo.
The Academy of American Democracy is a part of the New York Historical Society. The NYHS works with Epiphany students from Pre-K – 8th grade through a grant provided by the Epiphany School Foundation.
Enjoy Will and Mateo’s poem:
A poem by Will Cook and Mateo Rodriguez
Within the Mediterranean, a young empire arose,
Many fierce warriors, whom their lives came to a close,
Along with these heroes came the strategists of the field,
their ideas and inventions of the weapons they yield.
Within 508 B.C.E,
Demos Kratia came to be,
Created by the Athenians, long ago,
They gave men the right to vote for things instead of saying, “No!”
Only men received the right to vote,
No kings or queens at most,
They voted using discs to reveal their decision,
To show the rest of Athens all of their own visions.
This is what democracy had begun to show,
It was welcoming to every male citizen who made it their humble abode.
For those who created this wonder 2500 years ago,
Why did you feel the need to treat your people so,
Where women or the poor couldn’t vote,
To only the rich men, did your life devote.
Many problems did this ancient government have,
Some people only got rights to watch their calve,
Many people lacked their future rights,
Which not until early America did they fight.
Within Athenian territory, there was labor throughout the paths,
On the other hand, the men were studying and doing maths.
Women and foreigners were considered very low,
while the men were to learn how to take down any foe.
Across the sea lay the 13 colonies,
as peaceful as they may be,
they had gained independence through war,
but the inspiration of leadership came from afar.
Voting was key for the people to succeed,
Just like Ancient Athens, a new place the world would see,
For it wasn’t the bloodline of royalty to be chosen,
As the people were to vote to not get their rights stolen.
The United States, although from very far away,
information of Athens’s government reached them when they settled at bay.
People began to vote, but similar rules began.
The men were to sit down, while women were to take stand.
Many came to realize the rights that they have lost,
So they marched for their own race, to pay for any cost.
This is described as activism, fighting for your freedom,
for many wanted the result to be the cleanest of all kingdoms.
Although seeming like this new democracy was stable,
Many millions of people’s voting rights were still staying unable.
As the country expanded, so did the population,
but with this expansion came the “fighting for this nation”.
During the horrible year of 1882,
immigrants from China became blue,
For the government would not let them stay,
They had to fight so their rights won’t be taken away.
Activism arrived as controversy came,
Many of the people wanted to make a change,
So they spoke out, marched, or even used violence as to threat,
For many wanted to equal the rights that the men had met.
Let’s go back all the way to Ancient Athens, where the audience was clapping,
A form of activism was created through the plays of Greek acting
A girl named Antigone, and her brother couldn’t be buried,
And with her tears, to a tomb her brother she carried,
Her father the Greek king was not pleased,
But in the end of all tragedies everybody ends out deceased.
Civil disobedience was key to winning a fight,
They would try everything to make their dream in their sight,
For they would go through all of their blood, sweat, and tears,
To make their goal reality, and make the future right here.
Athens used various ways to spread their thoughts,
They had put in so much effort to find the life that they had sought.
Tragedies like Antigone, or even marches they made,
Their results have changed the course leading to today.
Wong Kim Ark, born as a citizen,
Was ashamed for the life that his parents were living in,
He got his rights taken away for his parents were Chinese,
He fought and got his right to vote which made many pleased.
The ERA fought for more women rights,
And who knew a woman would be their biggest fight.
Phyllis Schlafly, that was her name,
To defeat the ERA was her big game.
Keith Haring who used art as a form of speaking,
For he was one who answered the people’s pleading.
He used art to show him message of activism,
It spoke out against homophobia and racism.
His art was very abstract and simplistic,
But everywhere you go you see a glimpse of it.
His symbol was a cute barking puppy,
If you find an original pin of it you will be very lucky.
He sold shirts,pants, and accessories to spread his word,
And today people still appreciate his work.
In the present, protests bombard the nation,
For the death of one man has changed the course of creation,
Because of his demise, many people fought,
For they made a new world, another which they sought.
Black Lives Matter was created, the protests were pouring in,
They wanted to end different treatment because of their origin,
Many other people supported this in peaceful speaking,
But some other protests turned to the violence that was sleeping.
These greats fought for female and male,
They seized the idea that they could balance the scale,
For this was activism, shining for its greatness,
Showing other people that this nation needs maintenance.
This is Demos Kratia, it had many ups and downs,
However, this style has risen from when it was found,
It allows everyone to vote, but there are ones who fight for,
For this democracy, which can be extended even more.
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