Youth Guest Post - Black Lives Matter: Stepping Up and Speaking Out

Written by:

Lavancia McClendon, Trenesia McClendon, Kissehanet Tesfa, Bethel Tesfay, Meklit Tesfay, Natalina Shega


When you see me…

You fear me

You wouldn’t like to see me with the weapon of education

But I don’t want revenge

I want equality

I am more than…

An angry Black woman

I am an ocean

I’m as powerful as my words

And I hold my community together.


When you see me…

You see Black

You feel uncomfortable

Like you’d rather stand on the bus than sit next to me

I am more than…

My skin color

I am sand.

No two of us are alike.

I’m an individual.

A small piece of something bigger.


When you see me…

You see juvenile

Like thunder

You feel scared because I’m dark and bold.

I am more than…

My stereotype.

I am the sun.

Shining bright

Educated

And looking for a future.


When you see me…

You think loud

You think my words will strangle you like a rope

I am more than…

the sassy Black girl on your favorite TV show

I am the earth

If you give me respect, I will give you comfort

I am the earth

I am nurturing so you can feel calm.


When you see me…

You see weak

Like I’m a puppet that can’t stand up for myself.

I am more than…

Someone who lets people control me.

I am a waterfall.

I am independent.

I am a powerful force.


When you see me…

You see charity case

You feel the need to help me

But I don’t want to be your cause for a march.

I am more than…

Poverty

I am a mountain.

Standing tall

As I’m climbing up reaching my goals.

We are more than what you see.

Natalina, Levancia, Trenesia, Meklet, Bethel, and Kissehanet wrote the above collaborative piece after coming together as the Teen Advisory Team for  The Eli’s Park Project . They are students at Roosevelt High School in NE Seattle.

Natalina, Levancia, Trenesia, Meklet, Bethel, and Kissehanet wrote the above collaborative piece after coming together as the Teen Advisory Team for The Eli’s Park Project. They are students at Roosevelt High School in NE Seattle.

“Our role in this project is to lead our community to create an accessible, inclusive, nature-based, peaceful, welcoming park for everyone to enjoy. People ask why we care about The Eli’s Park Project. We think it’s important because there are a lot of people who are excluded in our community. Everyone deserves to feel safe, welcome and respected regardless of their race, ability, age, sexuality, gender, religion or socio-economic status.

As we have become leaders of this project, we have realized the power of our voices. We wrote a group poem to show people what we believe about ourselves. We encourage everyone to take the time to get to know us, and others, for who we really are. If we stop at stereotypes, we miss the best parts of each other. A community should be led by its people and we’re taking that responsibility seriously. We’re stepping up and speaking out for a more inclusive world.”