Black Like We

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

This is a part of me. I have to win, I thought to myself as Ms. Jessica announced the soon-to-be poetry slam. Composing poems was simple enough in my mind because, in order to win, you had to make the judges laugh or cry, while holding a steady rhyme pattern. Most of my poems were tearjerkers (I love a good sob story) and if you weren’t crying at the heart-rending words I yelled out passionately, you were laughing at the way I put my hands on my hips and stuck out my tongue owing to the fact that I had just jumbled up my words. This summer I was determined to win first place, considering my brilliant cousin Latrell won every year and was now (to my delight) too old to participate. I had no idea that the poem I would eventually write, however, would hit so close to home while being 845 miles away.

A tear-stained face and sniffling nose approached me the following morning. “There was a shooting in South Carolina Jae. In a church,” my mother told me sadly. I asked, “Who? Why?” but she had no answers. As I watched images of a candlelight vigil on the news, my blood boiled, my heart ached, and my tears flowed. The lives of nine churchgoers were gone in an instant by a White Supremacist. I was told not to be angry but resentment...

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