Hubanks delivers poem during youth summit

Interim Pine Bluff Police Chief Jeff Hubanks shared the stage with the youngest daughter of the late Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday when he was a featured speaker at the Pen or Pencil Regional Youth Summit held in Little Rock.

King’s daughter Bernice A. King was the keynote speaker for the summit, which had the theme of “Nonviolence to No Violence.”

As a part of the summit, a mock memorial service was held “For A Victim,” and Hubanks shared a poem he had written for the occasion.

“I was writing some use plans Sunday and I realized I didn’t have my speech written for the Youth Summit,” Hubanks said. “I got to thinking poem, poem, poem and this is what came out.”


We are here to say I love you, I will miss you, and tearfully say I am sorry.

We are here to say goodbye.

We are here because we came last year, and the year before, and the year before.

You and others like you keep dying, and so we keep coming to apologize, to eulogize.

To say; “At least I came.”

That is all we know to do.

We made it easy for your father to leave you, for your mother to leave you, and consequently, for opportunity to leave you.

In the remainder we left you with few choices and fewer chances.

That is all we know to do.

We created a school system for you where the emphasis is on Benchmark Testing, where the emphasis is on the money.

All so we can continue to fail you from a much nicer building.

That is all we know to do.

We created a legal system arising from a watchman style, reactive method of policing with a reactive method of sentencing.

When a crime is committed, we make the arrest, we send the bad guy to prison; an eye for an eye as they say.

When lots of people commit lots of crimes we hire more police, we make more arrests, and we send more people to prison.

When the prisons get full we build more prisons.

That is all we know to do.

Common sense tells some of us, parts of us, the best of us, that truly violence begets violence.

An addict is better served by treatment than incarceration.

The death penalty is not uniformly a deterrent.

A proud, self-aware person is never a thief.

Education in prison stops the revolving door.

The reason these options are not our options is the lack of the will and money, the will and money.

And so we continue to do what we always do.

That is all we know to do.

I don’t know your name.

I will call you; Tomorrow’s Promise.

We will continue to wear the guilt of your passing like a shroud with ashes.

We failed you.

We will eulogize your too short life and say goodbye, Tomorrow’s Promise.

That is all we know to do.

Jeff Hubanks

July 2013