Who Am I? by Keisha Howell

Who Am I?

I’m still searching for the answers

Am I a broken glass that can’t be picked up without hurting someone.

The sun that goes into hiding when the rain falls.

The scrapes on a place that no one wants.

Am I the least of favorite outfit that you just won’t wear?

That pair of shoes, that won’t fit anymore.

The dirt on a shoe that no one wants to clean.

Who Am I?

I’m still searching for the answers.

Am I the abandon child that no one seems to look for?

That hard math problem, that can’t be figured out.

Am I the caged bird that can’t be freed.IMG_1211

The street light that keep changing colors.

Who am I?

Who is this girl?

I’m still searching for the answers.

The answers are unknown which is the reason for this sad tone.

I’m searching for change

I’m sick of this game.

These pieces must be mended.

I’m sick of pretending.

Who am I?

Tell me cuz I’m tired of searching for the answers.

And if you can’t tell me I guess am that last bible scripture that cause tears to flow down your face, after a sermon.

A Sign of A Victory by Demetrius Johnson.

IMG_0012Throughout life, I believe, we are all destined to go through obstacles, trials and tribulations.  These events can either, destroy your faith and break you down to the core or bring the best out in you and show you your destiny. Whether the reason is you are destined to face situations and problems good or bad, you can face them and give life its bull shit back or you can let life bring you to being miserable, disconsolate, and even suicidal. I, Demetrius Johnson, know how life can bring you to being exultant or becoming disheartened only because life has brought me to down to my feet at times and also life has strengthen me to bring the best out of me.

As a child that faced foster care from the age of two, I myself stood before many challenges that I had to overcome; some to this very day I still struggle with. I sometimes wonder if foster care a system to destroy or make you. I didn’t find out until I was 16 that Foster care is somewhat a business. Families are making money off a child’s misery and pain. Struggling with trying to find love, acceptance, family and happiness turned my heart into a cold and lonely figure. I was once told by a wise man “don’t search for happiness, live your life and one day when you awake she’ll be home.” It’s a very formidable feeling to have to grow up without either parent and without some type of structure in your life.  You’re forced to have a relationship with complete strangers who only take care of you because of the income that will arrive on the 12th of the month.

Foster care is only one of many obstacles I have faced.  Between losing my mom, having problems searching for love and acceptance; my life hasn’t been a walk in the park. Even when the mountains seemed too high to concur, when faith became just a blur, and when hope was dying as a child with a dream- I still believed in change.   I believe in courage, strength, and I believe in a change. I believe in a future, I believe in foster children! We can rise above it and help change the world!

I stand now as a young man who just turned 18, I used to believe no one loved me nor cared about me. It seemed friends and family were just a dream and my world just came crashing down a bit more every day. The road I was walking down led to nothing but anger, agonizing pain, and loneness.  To find myself, I had to stop isolating from everyone just because people made me promises and broke them.  People hurt me, family and friends disappeared before a blink of an eye, and also the pain I experienced from being in foster care.  I believe there is still good people out in the world. Just because your life may not be the way you want it to be it’s never too late to make an 180 degrees turn around.

I know my mother looks down on me and smiles. I am beating a system designed for money and to destroy children.  Even when I am weak and the world seems to be on my shoulders, I promised my mother, before she died, no matter what I would find a way to overcome foster care.  I will keep the faith and believe in what’s right. My heart can be crying while I’m in the middle of a smile. My entire life I have been through 30+ foster homes all around Brooklyn and Queens.  I was feeling suicidal at times, not caring anymore.  I was at the peak of my life but I wanted to finally give up because I had been arrested and sentence to some months in jail. This is when I changed my life at 16 and swore I would make a change; even though I knew it would be hard to get back on my feet. God has blessed me with a beautiful, caring, understanding girlfriend (Tyra); my astronomical foster parent, who is young and consider himself my brother (Kabar); an amazing social worker who stood by my side since I arrived in care ( Ms. Tony Ince); and so many more people who came in to my life and helped me believe in a future. They helped me believe that there are still good people in this world.

I am now a senior at Freedom Academy High School.  I originally had a grade point average of 36. Now, I can gladly feel accomplished by saying I stand with an average of  81. From a child who used to fight, steal, and lie and so much more problems I dealt with; I am now a man of my word.  A strong young man, who wants to become a lawyer for foster children. I want to change the lives of foster kids. I want them to know and believe they are not out there alone, I am here with them. We will continue to stand strong and fight this system together.

I won’t give up.  I will make it in life, prove everyone who doubted foster kids wrong, and show them change will come. We will beat this system that was designed to destroy and take our future away.   Even if our blue skies are now gray and everyday it seems you wake up angry, brokenhearted or you feel as if you can’t go on anymore; this is when you use your last breath and give life one more chance. Fight back and believe in what’s right, but most of all believe in yourself. I believe in all of us, the future may seem far away but change will come and we will stand up. This fight will bring the best out of us, this is just the beginning of a sign of a victory.

 

 

My American Dream by Gelsomine Reme

My American Dream

IMG_0464People’s definition of an American Dream are all different. Some people’s American Dream could be the typical one; owning a nice house and luxury car, have a successful career, and a family. Like most, I do want to own a beautiful big house one day, and have a successful career but I wouldn’t be content with just that. I feel now, at 16 years old, I am already living a portion of my American Dream. The American Dream that being African American won’t limit me. However, my American Dream isn’t only that. It is for black people to not live by the stereotypes and statistics that are always said against us African Americans and for us to never disregard our past and to let the the people of our past to inspire us to do better.

50 years ago no one would’ve ever thought that after the civil rights movement that we would ever live to see a black man become president and serve not only one term but two terms of presidency. As a black person looking forward to the future, I know that I am not limited just because of the color of my skin. This is one of the greatest milestones many wished to live to see. Obama isn’t the only one who portrays a good image of black people, there are many others such as Oprah Winfrey, talk show host and actress who is considered one of the richest black females in the U.S with a networth of 2.7 billion and the young Gabby Douglas, a gymnast and olympian who was the first African American awarded a gold medal for her event. Although we have good examples, we also have bad examples as well; Bad examples that seem to outweigh the good ones.

First and foremost, some of the common black stereotypes is that African Americans are all corrupt and immoral people, and will eventually end up in jail. We won’t ever make it to college and don’t ever get anywhere in life and we are all welfare recipients are also another. Although these are just generalizations, these stereotypes do in fact have some statistical truth. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, they show that the US prison population is made up of 13.44% White, 20.29% Hispanic and 60.21% African American. We are responsible for most of the crime in our communities; the Bureau of Justice also proves that in high populated African American communities there are high crime rates than communities . Education statistics also aren’t better. According to National Center for Education Statistics, it’s proven that blacks dropping out of high school are higher than any other race and it is likely that we won’t earn a degree or even a diploma. I know for a fact that some of our stereotypes derived from these statistics and this is why I don’t argue with the ignorant minds that believe all black people are like this. As an African American i will say we must represent ourselves better than this.

I have high hopes that my American Dream will be achieved eventually. My dream that African American people will not only do better as people but for the statistics to improve and people start associating us with better stereotypes like “All African Americans are smart” or “Have lives”. Until I live my American Dream, I will just be a good example of a black person. I will go to college and get an education and obtain a degree in either education or physician assistant studies, have a successful career and take care of my family without assistance, and eventually own a house one day. In addition to this, I will also advocate for this cause. I will create youth groups for blacks so I can inspire them to be successful people in life and make them aware about these statistics that defame our race. I will also speak to the masses about my dream and we should take steps in making a future for us better now.

In conclusion, there are many bad stereotypes concerning us African Americans, and not that this is the only contribution to our bad stereotypes, but our bad statistics is one of the reasons why. My American Dream is for African Americans to do better, be aware of these statistics so we won’t repeat them for our future. To try to achieve my dream, I will set up youth groups and publicly speak about this issue to encourage them, inspire them and for them to be aware. Most importantly, I myself, will be a good example so that black people would be inspired by me. I have no doubts that one day my dream will become true and I hope to live and see it.

American Dream – James Means

The American Dream that I have is to open up my own business. I would like to open up a restaurant to have people explore and taste different forms of menus that I can create. Some menus that I can create are soul food and seafood creations. My dream is not the same like most American dreamers. Most American dreamers say that their dream is to become a famous basketball player or become a famous actor/singer. To accomplish my dream of opening my own business, there are many accomplishments and achievements that I will take like getting my degrees, obtaining experiences in restaurants, the challenges of getting loans and managing, hiring and firing, take responsibility as the person in charge and making my business a nation business.  IMG_0449

The first accomplishment that I will take is to get my degrees. As of right now I am currently in the 11th grade at Freedom Academy High School. To achieve my education degrees I plan to get my Advance High School Regents Diploma, my Masters in Business Administration and an Associate in Culinary Arts. I also plan to have experiences in restaurants. I will like to have the experience in a restaurant to be shown how it is run cooperated. I would like to be shown the jobs that each person have and how the kitchen is being run, like the duty of the head cook and the duties of the other workers in the kitchen.

The second accomplishment that I will have to achieve is the challenges that I will have to take. The challenges that I will face are the managing of the restaurant, get a place to have my restaurant at, and complete my experiences in at least two restaurants. The reason why these are challenges to me is because they are problems that I will have to handle to make my American Dream come true. I plan to overcome these problems by taking it one day at a time. The biggest challenge that I have is getting a place for my restaurant, and I plan to overcome it by saving money and getting loans and grants, and even also a getting location for it. Another challenge that I really have to face is doing the experience, this is a challenge because I am a person that likes to be in charge. I plan to handle this by just stepping back and letting the manager to charge and watch him/her run the business that they are running.

After my American Dream has come true, I still would have one more accomplishment that I need to achieve. My third and last accomplishment to achieve is to make my restaurant a national restaurant. I plan to make my restaurant a national restaurant by using the money I get from the local restaurants organization to build another restaurant organization in a different state or city. After I build at least three or four organizations I will then have my restaurant known has I national restaurant, like Red Lobster, Applebees, Joe’s Crab Shack and many other well known restaurants.

In conclusion, I can say that I will make my American Dream come true. I also can say that I am not sure I will fellow my accomplishment in this essay to make my American Dream come true, but I will try. My American Dream will come true, through all the challenges, and the accomplishments that I will overcome and achieve. My American Dream will come true because no matter how hard the challenges get I will not quit, because quit never win. Opening my own business is my American Dream.

My Life in the Hurricane by Sontique Campbell

Hard winds, dark sky, and water forcing itself inside…Hurricane Sandy left my town in an ocean of tears…  IMG_0002_2

I lived in Far Rockaway since I was eight years old. I met my friends and father side of the family there. Far Rockaway is very much a part of me, so to see my library, my board-walk, my skate park, my friends homes and my old middle school destroyed showed me everything can be taken away from you in a few seconds. Rooms flooded, lives taken, no lights, no food, no power and clothes. Honestly I was distraught by what I was seeing.

On October 29th warning signals flashed across my T.V. screen but the sky didn’t seem to reflect that scene. So me and my family decided to stay home. Three hours later the winds were greater. Hard whistles as the wind hit my window. Four hours passed. It’s dark and water reaches my parking lot, tons of water. My lights went out. My parent’s car was floating near my front door. I ran to my hallway and the water reached my landing, my brother and sister started crying and my mother is worrying. I suggest we play cards to keep from being gloomy. We all got tired and fell asleep to see the aftermath in the morning.

The day after, I open my door to a horrible fish stench. I go downstairs and my hallway is full of mud, tree branches and garbage. I go further outside to walk towards the boardwalk. I see cars on top of cars, Channel 1 News, police, fire fighters, and buses going to shelters. The boardwalk was smashed into someone’s house and so many pieces of it in the street, homes caved in, mud and dirt everywhere it was a ghost town. Far Rockaway was officially at it’s worse.

No Street lights so criminals came out at night. Those that lost things or never had anything took it upon themselves to steal from their own community. Red Cross and the National Guard came to the rescue. Food, pampers, clothes given to those in need, covers and blankets for those with no heat. The sad faces of my neighbors, family and friends while trailing through dirt to see the outcome of Sandy made my stomach turn and suddenly sadness took over me and I started to cry.

Throughout this whole experience I take nothing for granted, Hurricane Sandy definitely open my eyes to fear and sadness, but I also realize the place I grew up in has played a special part in my heart I never knew it did. Having this happen to me made me a more stronger and positive person in so many ways for my family and myself. I learn how to pick myself up and move forward, it wasn’t easy but me, my family and my community did so by coming together to rebuild our community back.

“The Legal Age” Shanice Junor

The Legal Age

Why shouldn’t 18 be the legal age for everything?  IMG_0028_2

After doing research and conducting class surveys, it is clear that there is controversy in what should be the legal age for everything.  Majority, believe that 18 years olds should be allowed to have the same privileges of those who are 21.  The main concern of the majority is they believe 18 years olds should be able to drink.  But there are many reasons why it is NOT safe for 10 years olds to consume alcohol, which later on I will thoroughly explain with strong facts behind it.  According to my research, many people believe that most 18 years olds are not mature enough to handle the responsibility of drinking and strongly agree with The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 which was passed on July 17, 1984 by the United States Congress as a mechanism “whereby all states would become thereafter required to legislate the age of 21 years as a minimum age for purchasing and publicly possessing alcoholic beverages.

What does Drinking do for an older person, that isn’t 10x worse for someone younger?

Teenagers are four times as likely to be involved in a car crash and three times more likely to die in one than adults according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Recent studies have shown that these statistics may have to do with teenage brain development.  A National Institute of Health study proposes that the part of the brain that restrains risky behavior, including reckless driving and thinking skills is not fully developed until the age of 25, so even the age of 21 is 4 years behind.  After doing some more research, Scientists have recently proven that alcohol can still damage the brain of a 25 year old.  Why would the government of US allow 18 year olds, almost 10 years behind the full development of the brain, to drink alcohol?

Overall, any benefit or joy alcohol can bring is minimal compared to the greater harms alcohol causes.  Although alcohol is harmful to everyone, alcohol harms young adults much more than older adults.  One’s brain does not complete development until the age of 25.  The mind has not fully formed its critical and rational thinking abilities.  Studies show that alcohol is deterrent to the process.  This can connect to a few of my senior classmates who are 18 and older and are prospective college students.  If you are looking to go to college and excel and gain something from higher education alcohol can be a roadblock to that goal. The fact that your brain isn’t fully developed yet, drinking alchohol  can stop the full formation of your mind, and your ability to think critical and rational, two things that may be necessary for college.  Not only does alcohol consumption affect the brain, it also affects female maturation and reproduction abilities during adolescents.

The National minimum drinking age act, allows 21 years olds to drink.  Once again, 4 years to low but there goes the government’s way of giving the people some leeway.  Most 18 years olds are still at home with their parents, fresh out of high school and even on their way to college to begin life on their own.  At this point they are finding themselves and are bound to make many mistakes, which of course some may learn from, and unfortunately some may not.  The hype of finally being 18 may cause teenagers to go above the limit, because to them they’re an Adult.  They are on their own without parental supervision.  Here is where the law comes in handy.  The National minimum drinking age act is the rule they must abide by, in other words it serves as their parent, and if they don’t abide by the rules, they will have to face the consequences.  Being that 21 is the minimum age for drinking, it allows teenagers to mature more, and the excitement of finally being on their own should be long gone.

In conclusion, ages of initiation vary in this country.  One may vote at 18, drink at 21, visit the local casino at 21, rent a car at 25 and run for President at 35.  These ages take into account that requirements, risks, and benefits of each act.  The National minimum legal drinking age of 21 has survived the test of time and is firmly supported by current scientific research.  Opponents of lowering the MLDA argue that teens have not yet reached an age where they can handle alcohol responsibly, and they are more likely to harm or even kill themselves and others by drinking prior to 21 and that traffic fatalities decreased when the MLDA increased.  The lives and futures of our children depend on its continued support.

The monster within by beautiful young lady

Fat, ugly, dirty these words echoed in my head
as I laid down on my bed.
Sometimes I wonder what’s the purpose of my life
I often wonder am I here to fight, am I here to look beautiful, am I
here to take up space, or am I here to make something out of my life.

But yet I could never find the answer. I got up and look into the
mirror wondering who the reflection in the mirror is, but yet I
could never figure out who it was. I think hard and hard and then
finally I realized the person I was l looking at, was me. But I
couldn’t recognize the unfamiliar face nor the unfamiliar body. I walk
back and forth in the mirror trying to figure out this stranger in the mirror. But yet I couldn’t figure out who this stranger is..

I think again and again and again and then I finally figure out this is
the person I have become. I now realize that all my life I have been
walking around with a stranger in my soul. I stand there staring and
staring trying to solve this mystery. I then finally figure out that I have become a terrible monster, that look like ugly Betty with big glasses, freckles on her face, short hair and smelly. I ran down the stairs to my family asking them who was this monster in my body and no one seems to know what I was talking about. I ran backup stairs and looked in the mirror. There was the ugly monster again, I called my sister asking her who was this monster in the mirror  but she didn’t see a monster. I look and look again and I keep seeing this ugly monster. But no one else could see it but me. I started to cry. It just made me look like an uglier monster. I stop crying and look deep into the mirror trying to figure out, how I could get rid of this ugly monster.

Then I realize in order for me to get rid of this ugly monster. I have to change the way I think about myself. I started to think of myself as this beautiful young lady, who is better than she thinks she is.  I started to look back into the mirror and the monster was finally gone.

“Legal Argument” Nashawana Graham

Legal Argument   IMG_0009_2

Do you believe in freedom of the speech?  Having the right to express yourself and being you and not being you by wearing clothing that ‘s not you?  In Freedom Academy High School students have to wear the dress code: white shirt, nave blue pants, all black shoes.  A rule that I am not satisfied with is that we the students have to wear uniform everyday including a Friday a rule that’s not being even look at.  This rule should definite be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

This rule that means matches up with an actual amendment is the last violated of freedom of speech the right to express yourself the rule with not wearing what we like is not being followed in the 1st Amendment since students aren’t wearing what they would like by wearing dress code.  So this 1st Amendment is being violated.  A quote that connects with this rule not being followed is “Congress shall made no law…. Abridging the freedom of speech.

I did a look and listen to what students discuss about the dress code in our High School.  Mostly every student in the school talk about the dress code makes them upset.  Since seeing other students wear what they want and don’t worry about school staff questioning about the dress code.  Some students saying in ways they don’t have to worry about picking a outfit the night before and just getting there uniform clothes right.  Most students saying not good having uniform because they don’t have no right of express and not being free at all of what wanting today.

I think that the reasons that the court should review this rule because the something that has do with a U.S. citizen rights on what feel is right and makes the United States a better for the better for the people.  Students say that wearing a dress code shouldn’t be allowed, only for job or career.   The Court should review the dress code laws for schools because we need to express ourselves.

“Different Kinds of Bullying” by Shanese

1. Physical bullying includes any physical contact that would hurt or injure a person like hitting, kicking, punching, etc. Taking something that belongs to someone else and destroying it would also be considered a type of physical bullying. For example, if someone was walking down the street and someone came up to them and shoved them to the ground, that would be physical bullying. In elementary and middle schools, 30.5% of all bullying is physical.

2. Verbal bullying is name-calling, making offensive remarks, or joking about a person’s religion, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or the way they look. For example, if there was a group of kids who made fun of another kid because he couldn’t run as fast as everyone else, it would be an example of verbal bullying. 46.5% of all bullying in schools is the verbal type. Verbal aggression is when a bully teases someone. It can also include a bully making verbal threats of violence or aggression against someone’s personal property.

3. Indirect bullying includes spreading rumors or stories about someone, telling others about something that was told to you in private, and excluding others from groups. An example would be if you started a rumor that a boy in your class likes playing with dolls, and if the reason that you made up the story was because you thought it was funny. This would be indirect bullying. Indirect bullying accounts for 18.5% of all bullying.

4. Cyberbullying is done by sending messages, pictures, or information using electronic media, computers (email & instant messages), or cell phones (text messaging & voicemail). For instance, if you sent a picture of a snake in an email to a person because you know that they are afraid of snakes, that would be an example of cyberbullying. According to a survey done in 2003 only 4% of bullying is listed as “other types” and this would include cyberbullying. Even though this number seems small, the growth of this type of bullying is going up fast because of the spread of technology around the world.

Source: http://library.thinkquest.org/07aug/00117/typesbullying.html