Here are some excerpts from the winning entries in Inglewood's essay contest. The theme was "I Wouldn't Write That Graffiti If I Were You!"
Listen, I may be just a little kid, but I know all about graffiti because it's written all over my neighborhood and that gives my neighborhood a bad image to all who visit Inglewood . . . . Start making Inglewood look like THE BEST again."
--Lonnie Marshane Daniels fourth grade, Clyde Woodworth Elementary School "Good Morning! This is Ra Nica Jackson of Station H.E.S, Channel 32, Highland Elementary School, bringing you the summary of today's news.
What's ahead for California . . . bleak, dreary, desolate, cheerless, disheartening, weary, melancholy, and depressing days. If . . . graffiti continues to destroy our communities . . . . Why? graffiti is ugly and very degrading. It's the first sign which tells everyone that you haven't any pride or respect for yourself, school, and community . . . . You can only feel sad for the people whose property has been defaced, but most important sad for the person or people who by means of graffiti degrade the feelings of others."
--Ra Nica Jackson fourth grade, Highland Elementary School "I wouldn't write that graffiti if I were you. . . . It is a negative reflection of a community. A lot of gang shooting and stabbing all start with writing on the walls. . . . When we write graffiti we show others we have a low self-esteem. Graffiti shows others that we are trying to identify ourselves in all the wrong ways. Let's turn all that energy we waste on graffiti onto things that will enhance ourselves and our community."
--Kyshanna Tidewell sixth grade, Frank D. Parent Elementary School "I am a 13-year-old girl who feels that graffiti is another form of crime, and I feel that the people caught doing it should be treated the same as drug pushers, because they are pushing gang violence, which is a bigger killer than any drug on the street. I'm using my hands not for graffiti, but to become a surgeon. . . . If I could make a wish like Dorothy and click my heels three times, I would click all the graffiti away and the graffiti would be no more."
--Yolanda Francine Harris eighth grade, Albert Monroe Junior High School "Most kids know that graffiti is wrong, but still they tend to do it anyway, usually because our friends are doing it. If we really consider this person as a friend, then we should encourage that person not to do this because it is wrong. This is not our property and we don't have the right to destroy it. . . . We must treat graffiti the same way we treat drugs and strangers. Say no to graffiti."
--Tama Bently seventh grade, Albert Monroe Junior High School "God did not put human beings on earth to violate rules and mess up other people's belongings. People should respect other people's property. Each one has his own responsibility."
--Zanika Washington seventh grade, Albert Monroe Junior High School