The Roses In Time - A Poem by Khaira Watkins (age 18)

Khaira is a graduating senior at Excel Academy. Khaira is among many of Dent students who have used this blog as a platform to reclaim their power in the fight against racism and injustice. Khaira shares her experience as a Black teenager and as a young woman. Her poem tells the story of racism as not being able to metaphorically breathe. She then transitions to telling the story of being able to use her pen and poetry as her form of protest. Khaira’s words are truly inspirational and impactful.

Stories like Khaira’s help us dismantle false narratives and provide powerful insights into the lives of others. Storytelling is a powerful tool each of us has; we are inspired by how Khaira is using hers.


The Roses In Time 

I’m hurt because I woke up to FOX 45 telling me a man was forced to the dirt.
He was killed by the ones who were supposed to put him first.
That right there told me that the officer didn’t care.
Some people will say, “maybe he just wasn’t alert.”
Nah, this cruel racist world doesn’t care if you’re a boy or girl,
If you’re black, they revert,
Right back to their racist ways.


A lot of people would hate to be me.
I’m a female, I’m black. Which is worse? I don’t know, you tell me.
I hate to be me, because I can’t be me.
I’m not able to be free.


I can’t decide if I want a baby or not.
I can’t decide if today I can go outside without begin shot.
I can’t decide if I can walk down that block.
Why? Because I might get stopped and get shot or be a strange fruit hanging.
I can’t understand them.
They don’t try to understand me.
Why can’t we be equal? Because they hate me?


I live in Baltimore, I’ve lost people to the hands of violence.
Should I be scared to speak or be silent?
It doesn’t matter because my skin is black,
So there’s an automatic, racist target on my back.
We can’t protest because “We are always violent.”
No, we are angry and no longer will be quiet.
No, we are killed, attacked, lynched and whipped on our backs .
I won’t be silenced because I’m Black.
Who’s to say I’m not important? That isn’t a fact.


I am pro black, I am pro women, and I am empowered.
I’m intelligent, beautiful, and if white people hate me for that, they are cowards.
I wish I could get away from the racism but I can’t because it’s everywhere.
Black women and men hate themselves because they are scared.
I want to help however I can.
If that means protesting or just writing my poems with this pen.


You can listen to all the talk and loud chatter,
But it’s not important because


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