Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School

My fellow Americans

My fellow Americans, in today’s society we face serious problems. One major problem I find is the issue of homelessness in America. Our forefathers did not envision a country that does not provide for all its people. This country was meant as a safe haven, an asylum for people to thrive, to better themselves, and to build better lives for their families. Back then, men and women would help one another and wouldn’t judge each other based on their incomes or race. They did it because it was the right thing to do, the American thing to do. In my experience, when I walk around these neighborhoods I see many Americans on the streets and I think to myself, “They used to be someone who contributed their part in society.” Some of these people used to be doctors, and teachers, family, and friends. What breaks my heart more than anything, however, is when one of these less fortunate people are holding a sign that reads: “I used to be a soldier.” No man or women that has served his or her country should be on the streets begging for money. In fact, nobody should be on the streets asking for food or money.

There are an estimated 564,708 homeless people in America and 49,933 of them are veterans. Is this really the thanks we are give our veterans after countless politicians start endless wars for resources and spread lies all in the name of democracy? According to Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado, “The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts nearly 31 percent of Vietnam veterans; as many as 10 percent of the Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans; 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan; and 20 percent of Iraq war veterans. Veterans that suffer with PTSD find it harder to secure a job and often turn to drug abuse for a cheaper relief rather than seek expensive medical care.

Imagine what would happen if you knew that person who went to war. What would you do if that was you mother or father, your brother or sister, your wife or husband? Wouldn’t you do anything to help out your friend or family member? Wouldn’t you want help if you were a veteran struggling to get back into society? 22 veterans commit suicide each day, and I don’t believe the government is doing everything it can to help dissolve the issue.

If I were president, I wouldn’t let our heros live like this. I would do everything in my power to start an organization to open up jobs for veterans and provide free temporary housing. I would provide medical care for veterans suffering from drug abuse and PTSD, and help them get back into society. They gave everything to protect and serve their country. Now it’s our turn to protect and serve them.

Now I speak to President Donald J. Trump. What will you do to ensure our troops are in a safe place once they return home? Will you be the savior they need or will we fight another endless war started by greed? When was an American soldier’s life equal to the amount of gold or oil? Why do we keep sending our troops to fight an enemy that we created? There will be no need to find these heroes struggling with PTSD at home if they don’t go to war in the first place. Mr. Trump, please take this to consideration. You have so much power as the leader of the free world. Think of every American, not just the few.

Writing by Michael Rodriguez

Art by Nayla Gonzalez

Join us February 16 as students perform their work live through spoken word, music, video and theatre on in Downtown LA. RSVP here