What do African-American Baltimore students do to help them process the recent events in Ferguson and Staten Island? For some, writing helps to work through their complex emotions. Check out this story by Jeff Guo of the Washington Post to learn more about Writers in Baltimore Schools and these students, and read one of the poems below by Afiya Ervin, 15, of Baltimore City College High School:
I’ve never written about this topic because the silence
Of my pen will never be as strong, never be as deep, never
Be as stifling as the moment of silence from a mother.
I’ve never written about this topic because I’m afraid.
I’m afraid that the next teenage black boy face will be
The face of my brother, I’m afraid I’ll see his instagram selfie with a black and white filter on
The news and I’m afraid of seeing hoodies with his face on them.
I’m afraid of seeing pictures of his dead body on the street for 4.5 hours.
I’ve never written about this topic because I
Know a little black girl like me will never be heard because of
The white patriarchy in my community, in my country.
I’ve never written about this topic, but I’m starting now.
I’m starting to write because one day, hopefully another little
Black girl won’t be scared for her brother, father, or friend. Hopefully
A black male can hope for a future instead of hoping
For the ability to walk down the street.
I’ve finally started writing because hopefully one day the scratches
Of my pen can uplift the mother, uplift the
Country, and uplift our people above the wet, dark backs of our
Ancestors and break the chains we’ve been carrying since we were taken
From our African Empires to work for the stripes and stars that have
Held us down for centuries.
I’ve finally started writing.