Charity's Poem (age 16)
Dent’s goal is to empower the next generation to take action using their talents.
Charity is a rising junior at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. She chose to express her voice through poetry. When asked why she chose to write this poem, she said, “I chose to write the poem because I had been going through a lot this past school year trying to understand who I am and why it’s so hard for me to figure it out. I already had some ideas jotted down, but after I got off a call with Micky, who asked me if I had any poems to share, I completed the whole thing after that. Like, ideas just kept flowing and I just couldn’t stop it.”
Charity’s words are powerful, in many ways. Not only does she eloquently share about her personal pain and struggle, which represents a collective weight carried by the Black community across the country and generations, but she also highlights and exemplifies the strength and power of the Black community. As important as it is for people to understand the real pain and struggle that so many endure, it is equally important that we see their brightness, their potential, and their power.
Charity represents the best of our youth. It’s young people like her who give us hope that we, that they, will build a better future. We hope that our student voices continue to inspire you to take action and fight against injustice.
As a young black girl, I struggle.
I struggle to find my identity in a world that doesn’t even accept me.
A world that hates me.
A world that just doesn’t want me.
I struggle to live free,
because my skin color automatically shackles me from opportunity.
When people see me, they don’t see my beauty or my brilliance.
All they see is the color of my skin.
And how that makes me this disgrace.
And with all of that negative energy that’s directed towards me,
it’s just so suffocating.
Sometimes it’s just so hard to breathe,
because it’s like I’m not really free.
And that’s all I truly want to be.
All I want to do is live free,
and be free to breathe.
Without supremacists and racists going out of their way to oppress me.
The scary thing is,
I feel most free when I’m not breathing.
When I’m fighting to hold my breath to prove that they can’t intoxicate me.
That they can’t control me.
That they just can’t make me.
And when I let go and breathe again,
I just somehow feel like I’m relinquishing my freedom.
You would think that because we’re in 2020,
the injustices and enslavement, both mental and physical,
that African Americans face would be gone by now.
But it’s 1619 all over again.
Our jails are modern day plantations.
Our communities are still segregated and most predominantly Black communities are still in poverty.
Our beautiful Black boys and girls’ worth now equates to those of a property.
It’s like, when will it be enough for them?
When we’re all put away in a cell?
For we built the foundation of this very country.
Without us, there would be no U.S.
Without us, there would be no culture.
Without us, the world would just be a blank canvas waiting for that little speck of color to touch it.
Sometimes I dream of a world where our white counterparts were as adamant about helping us,
as they are of getting rid of us.
And not that all white folks are bad, because some are really tight.
But it’s just so hard to distinguish between who is real and who is not.
But no more.
Enough is enough.
George. Breonna. Trayvon. Freddie. Kalief. Sandra.
And countless others.
They died undeserving deaths.
Deaths that happened simply because they were Black.
And we will not let this go on any longer.
We are tired of seeing all of our incredible and beautiful people be taken out and disposed of like trash.
We are tired of screaming “Black Lives Matter!”
While ignorant people scream about how “All Lives Matter!”
But how can all lives matter if our lives just don’t?
We are tired of history repeating itself, and now we are coming.
We are coming stronger than ever,
active as ever,
educated as ever,
and we will not let up the pressure until we are all free, and receive justice!
So to all of the supremacists,
Killing us may make you feel liberated in your privilege,
but deep down we all know that you’re pissed.
You’re pissed because you didn’t get the blessing of Black brilliance and resilience.
The gift of melanin and greatness,
and it pisses you off because you know it’s something your privilege will never allow you to buy,
No amount of privilege can give you what my people have.