Out of the Mouths of Babes | Volume 7

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OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES VOL. VII

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© 2020 Mt. Pleasant NOW Development Corporation. All rights

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reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without prior written permission by Mt. Pleasant NOW Development Corporation.

Lake Erie Ink

Mt. Pleasant NOW Development Corporation strives to create a vibrant Mt. Pleasant neighborhood to live, work, play, and entertain by engaging and connecting people, organizations, and businesses. The MyCom Network connects Greater Cleveland’s young people with high–quality, neighborhood based programs and services that provide engaging, educational and affordable opportunities in a safe and supportive environment—helping them to connect, navigate and be productive so they can grow, thrive and reach their full potential.

ISBN: 978-1-7923-3263-0

DESIGN Agnes Studio helloagnes.com PRINTING Foote Printing Cleveland, Ohio TYPEFACES Gopher Roc Grotesk


OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES VOL. VII

7 t h ANNUAL SOAPBOX COMPETITION


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OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

VOL. VII

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES is modeled

on the tradition of soap box speeches—speeches that were given by citizens who cared about a specific social issue and took to the streets with their words. Speakers would often stand on a wooden crate that soap came in, to elevate themselves to be heard by others.

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These speeches come from the passions of our youth. THIS IS THEIR SOAP BOX. 5


THANK YOU

SPECIAL THANKS!

We extend our gratitude to the amazing MyCom Network partners who supported this year’s FLOW program. They empowered Greater Cleveland’s youth to elevate their voices and engage in the civic landscape at a deeper level. To the MyCom Neighborhood Lead Agencies and their partners VOL. VII

Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope (NOAH) and Shaw High School;

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

who facilitated locations, recruited youth, and made FLOW happen:

Catholic High School.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL) and the CCPL Maple Heights Branch; and Slavic Village Development and Cleveland Central

To the amazing FLOW facilitators: Kansia Kindle, Montina Preston, and Jake Streeter. A special thanks to Lake Erie Ink who joined the FLOW program to help with the Soapbox portion of the program; Cynthia Larsen, Patrick Warner, and Sony Ton-Aime spent time working with the youth to prepare their speeches and practice extemporaneous speaking. Finally, this project would not be possible without continued financial support from the Cleveland Foundation.

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“ The two years working with FLOW have been inspiring to me as an educator. I have watched the youth grow, become involved in the community, make responsible choices in their lives, and become confident in their abilities to positively lead and make a difference. The scholars have learned how to express themselves without fear while encouraging others to do the same...� MRS. MONTINA D. PRESTON FLOW INSTRUCTOR


TABLE OF CONTENTS

28 SPEECHES Foreword Brenda A. Pryor, MyCom Regional Coordinator . . . . . 10 Neighborhoods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

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WHEN WILL IT STOP? Danielle Fuller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

NINTH GRADE

IT’S CRAZY Jordan Ingram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

THE PROBLEM WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT Brooklyn Crosby . . . . . . 22

TENTH GRADE LIVING WITH GRANDMA Janyah Hannah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 DEAR DIARY A’Myah Temple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 TURN AROUND Jalecia Claytor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 WHAT IS LOVE? Brianna Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 DEPRESSION Summer Poke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 FEAR Chrislyn Thornton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 BULLYING Diandra Hubbard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 I LIKE TO EAT Brianna Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 CHILD ABUSE Bernae Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 SELF Ariya Powell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH A’Miyah Temple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

ELEVENTH GRADE JEALOUSY Artistine Beavers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 LYING Dominique Inniss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 DEPRESSION Aaliyah Monroe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 MY SISTER Aaliyah Monroe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 BULLYING Ciera Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 ANIMAL CRUELTY Dyani Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 IN THE DARK Moniesha Haggins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 TO MY CREATORS Danaya Robinson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 TWELFTH GRADE RACIAL DISCRIMINATION Alex Spence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 HUMAN TRAFFICKING An’Neisa D. Mills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 WHAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF? Donald Black . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 TIME David Claybrooks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 FINAL DESTINATION Jordan Buchanan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 BLACK ON BLACK Marquice Baker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 ADDITIONS HOLD YOUR DRINK CAREFULLY IN YOUR HANDS Anonymous . . . 68 PROGRESSING... Shauntaja Treadwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Biographies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

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FOREWORD

FOREWORD

When researching the accounts of major historical movements, it is often the youngest and most vulnerable leading the charge for change. These youth protest, illuminate, inspire and sometimes die to light the spark of revolution. During the Revolutionary War the colonist spies who gathered intelligence to gain strategic advantage over the British were young. VOL. VII

Nearly a century later Harriet Tubman started her advocacy of fighting for the rights of others at the age of 12 when she saw an

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

overseer about to throw a heavy weight at a fugitive slave. She took the blow and began her path as an abolitionist. Young women have been at the front line of the Women’s Suffrage Movement from 1848 to it’s culmination August 18, 1920 with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. Freedom Riders, The Little Rock Nine and Civil Rights Activists who initiated sit–ins including the sit–in at Greensboro North Carolina in 1960 were young people. Today’s youth possess this drive to make an impact and fight for justice. They are the seeds that germinate, grow and develop to uncover harsh truths. Consider movements such as “Black Lives Matter” as well as protesting to “Reduce Gun Violence and Change Gun Laws” in Florida and “Climate Change” are a few of the movements. My heart often breaks when I think about the current state of affairs in this nation and the global world. My faith is strong and strengthened when I think of our MyCom youth pushing the envelope and doing the hard work of changing the world’s perception about young people.

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FOREWORD

MyCom Youth participate in Future Leaders of the World (FLOW), a Democracy in Action, out–of–school time program that is a version of Chicago’s Mikva Challenge. This program affords them the opportunity to slow down and think critically about the world. They learn to organize their thoughts and use their voice to make change. The youth have access to this programming at our program sites including: Slavic Villages’ Cleveland Central Catholic; East Cleveland, Shaw High School; Maple Heights High School at the Cuyahoga County Public Library, Maple Heights Branch. This community of youth are empowered to embrace activism, identify issues they are passionate about and use resources to help them lift their voices. Volume VII of “Out of the Mouths of Babes” will bear witness to the real courage it takes for our youth to be authentic and transparent in their expression. Their words, short essays, poems, speeches and statements contains their raw sacred truths. Let us learn from our exceptional young people. This is an opportunity to be inspired, optimistic and motivated by our next generation of leaders. Be Encouraged!

BRENDA A. PRYOR MyCom Regional Coordinator Maple & Warrensville Heights

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NEIGHBORHOODS

SLAVIC VILLAGE

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NEIGHBORHOODS

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NEIGHBORHOODS

MAPLE HEIGHTS

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NEIGHBORHOODS

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NEIGHBORHOODS

EAST CLEVELAND

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NEIGHBORHOODS

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ninth grade

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NINTH GRADE

WHEN WILL IT STOP? Danielle Fuller

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Tamir Rice Trayvon Martin Troy Anthony Davis Michael Brown Alton Sterling Walter Scott Instead of reading this list on and on forever, just remember— those black men and women, some young and some old, were all killed by the same people who swore up and down that they were going to protect us Who took oaths to serve and protect this country no matter— Oh and let’s not forget Amadou Diallo where the police fired 41 shots at an innocent man. Oh wait let me guess—you thought they were stealing— or no, wait—the best one yet— (told by every police officer ever on trial or to even hit a jury) you thought they had a gun and you feared for your life. Or was it because they were Black? You have no place to judge You kill me You beat me You even mistreat me When you’re the one who is supposed to protect me and those who look like me You have misused your authority To take over those who look like me You create systems Laws Rules To rule against me

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NINTH GRADE

You may knock us down Try to damage us— Which is clearly not working— So you try harder. But we will continuously get back off that ground As those before us who did the same: Martin Luther King Rosa Parks Ruthy Bridges Malcolm X Who’s next? I know the list goes on and on forever Because we’ve been fighting forever to be equal Stop saying racism and discrimination no longer exist Because in reality it always will—no matter what. I bet right now somewhere a black boy is being eyeballed like he’s stealing. I guess no matter what rights or privileges you give us we will never be the same. In your eyes My genetics make me vulnerable— My blackness a fatal disease— I wonder when I’ll be able to see a cop or a badge And have my mind at total ease. Why do they still treat black lives as if they’re a game? If black lives truly matter I wouldn’t have written this or even come to read this on the stage

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NINTH GRADE

THE PROBLEM WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT Brooklyn Crosby

Sexual assault. What is sexual assault? It can be a forceful event such as rape, unwanted touching, and forcing sexual acts. Not many people know that assault can have different meanings and different feelings, but the thing is, it’s never the victim’s fault.

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As I grew into a teen, I have witnessed and experienced assault so I want people to be aware of how important this issue can be. Sexual assault can come randomly. It doesn’t matter what age, what gender, or what sexuality that person is. Anyone can be a victim.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

Mostly, females are the ones who really have a hard time communicating issues or problems that go on because it can be very traumatizing and difficult to express what they have dealt with in their lives. Some people see women as weak because of how feminine we are, and how we express more than the opposite gender. When people look at me, they see a short girl who maybe looks clueless and lost, who seems quiet and shy. I can be anti social but I am very observant and aware of things—that is something hard for me to make people notice about me. So anyone can see me as a target because they ‘re not aware that I’m aware. Victims are sexually assaulted every 73 seconds, but the ages that are at higher risk are 12–34 year olds. Anyone can be the target. 200,000 white people out of 300,000 total per year are sexually assaulted, and over 18% African American women will be assaulted. It can still be anyone. The problem with sexual assault is that not many are aware of how many innocent people are getting their voice taken away. People should support survivors of sexual assault, and help find others who could have been assaulted and didn’t tell anyone. They should help them talk about it, but let them take their time.

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NINTH GRADE

IT’S CRAZY Jordan Ingram

You see it’s crazy you remind me of me yes I was blind but I can finally see don’t take it the wrong way but you look great when you awake but it’s just something about you that got me off of my knee you so elegant you really get me out of my element that I ain’t been the way the others been but whatever they do is forever irrelevant cause everything we do is better for my development I knew myself way longer than you’ve known me but you always saying things I never knew ‘bout you—it’s crazy you bring the man and the youth out of me just take my past and throw it out to sea is it just me or I’m just scared to be alone you still got me smiling at home

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TENTH GRADE

LIVING WITH GRANDMA Janyah Hannah

I was brought into the world, and I was dressed nice. Everybody loved me. I thought this feeling would be forever, the feeling of support and security. I valued the people who valued me. The people who meant the most to me were Grandpa, Momma, & Pops. Birthday parties at school, just to have another one at home. Christmas presents as tall as me every year; I loved it.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

VOL. VII

Suddenly it stopped, I was ripped from the people who loved me more than they loved themselves. The three who worked their hardest to give me the world. I was too young to understand; lies were fed into my brain at a young age. You’re probably thinking, “If you loved them that much, why did you even pay attention to it?” It was my grandma, and my thoughts were, “Why would she lie to me, her granddaughter?” I grew up mad at the world. My grandma started off nice. She wasn’t the “let’s bake cookies and watch TV” type, but I loved her. One year, it stopped and it seemed like I was in a whole different household; I was older, and everything I did was wrong. I was accused of things I didn’t even think were possible. She told me, “You will fail.” “You will never be anything.” “They don’t want you, why do you think you’re here?” She told me this so much I believed her. I don’t know what went wrong. What I did wrong. It felt like she didn’t like or love me anymore. So, I tried to make her love me, but she told me I had “behavior problems” & that “I needed help,” so I agreed. She told me I would be “a failure, with kids at a young age,” and I agreed. She got me the “help” I thought I needed. But that wasn’t what I needed. I needed a hug, reassurance, compliments—anything that would make me feel like me again. They put me on pills, but I stopped taking them, and she asked why? I told her because I didn’t like the way they made me feel, and she made me feel worse. Jumping from hospital to hospital. Prescription after prescription. New lies about me every time we went somewhere different. 26


TENTH GRADE

I got old enough to put facts together about the real reason I was taken from my parents, & what she was saying about me wasn’t true. She knew that. Arguments got worse. I started to get called every name that wasn’t on my birth certificate. Loneliness & low self–esteem, I felt; pill after pill, I took. It hurt mentally & physically. I could feel my body getting weak because I took too many, & I knew that there was a 50% chance that she just might care, but I was wrong. I also took the biggest risk of all: sacrificing my life, hoping that somebody would care. No, not just somebody. My grandma. I still never had any hatred towards her. I loved her more after this than I did before. It’s sad to say, but I can’t even tell you why. By age 14, anxiety attacks were called temper tantrums. Me expressing myself to myself was being called disrespectful. Every day I told myself “You’re beautiful, you will be something, and I got you,” and “Let this make you & not break you,” and “You came this far, so why quit?” That’s what kept me pushing, besides waking up & being able to see my sisters walk to school. No matter how many times Grandma knocked me down, I got up two times taller & loved her harder. Sometimes that’s all you can do. So, here it is: About 46.6 million adults suffer from mental illness; 2.4 million live with schizophrenia; and 2.6 million live with bipolar disorder. 3.6% of people with mental health issues are black, or African American. My grandma is a bipolar schizophrenic. Knowing this doesn’t make me love her any less, and you just have to be really mentally strong & patient when dealing with her or someone like her.

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TENTH GRADE

DEAR DIARY A’Myah Temple

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Growing up with a teen body but only in elementary school, she walked home from school in her school dress, with her hair pinned up. Older boys tried to talk to her even though she had on a “Hello Kitty” book bag. As she walked home from school, a car pulled up. There were older boys inside. As the car slowed down, the boy turned down his window and tried to talk to her. He didn’t see the bright pink “Hello Kitty.” As he tried to yell any word or name to grab her attention, she still avoided turning around to look at him. Afterward, she ran home crying to her room.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

Because she didn’t have anyone to talk to as an only child, she never told anybody what was going on. The next day walking to school, older boys were still trying to talk to her, but she knew not to turn around. Growing up only around her mom was hard. Her mom was never around because she was always with her boyfriend. Therefore, it was hard for her to talk to anybody. There was a lack of love, and nobody there to tell her what was right or wrong. Then she decided to start looking for love. Dear Diary, I wish somebody would love me much as my mom’s boyfriend loves her. Sincerely, yourself Her mom was never home so she started watching different things on TV and getting things off of television. The next time she would see the older boy she would try to talk to the boys. Nobody would know if she was a kid because she would look more mature even if they paid attention to the “Hello Kitty” book bag. Therefore the next day she wanted to dress different like the people on her TV.

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TENTH GRADE

Dear Diary, Today I decided to dress like the people on TV, and because my mother and I wear the same size so I can wear her clothes and makeup. Sincerely, yourself She wore a mini skirt and a crop top. Looking through her mom’s makeup bag, she glanced at things she thought could make her look like the people on TV . So she saw some lip gloss and just determined to take it. Her mom would never know because she was never home in the morning. But that morning as she walked in the door, nobody recognized her, so everybody was surprised because nobody ever seen her that way. She looked different, much older, but she still had on a “Hello Kitty” book bag. It was the first time her classmates even noticed her, and her teachers didn’t even recognize her. They thought to themselves, “Is this a new student of mine?” School was over and it was an early day. Usually when she walked home, she would see the boys, but they were still in school. She was hungry because she didn’t eat school lunches because they are nasty. After she went to the store to buy some snacks and she came out, there were men trying to talk to her even though she had on a “Hello Kitty” book bag. Little known fact: there are things like Fitch thongs for little girls, YES, you heard me right—Fitch thongs. They are thongs for young girls. Tesco peek–a–boo stripper pole, push up bras, and sexy costumes for kids. Things that make kids look more mature than their age. As a kid you are always getting in a predicament if you’re caught between being a child or an adult. When older people want to get intimate with you, suddenly you’re seen as an adult. Like when a senior tries to talk to a freshman. Just because she is old enough doesn’t mean she is mature enough. How about we just let kids be kids as long as possible? They have the rest of their lives to be adults.

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TENTH GRADE

TURN AROUND Jalecia Claytor

Have you ever had a time in your life where it felt like it was the worst time of your life? My middle school years were the worst time of my life.

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At this point I simply felt like I wanted my life to be over. I never really talked to others in school, but I was very attractive to different people based on my body shape. I wanted my days to come and go even more.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

Many times walking down the hallway, people would try to touch me basically anywhere they could. Most of the time there were just too many people to fight off. They would walk past and say things like, “Hey sexy.” At that age, no one wants to be called sexy. I wanted people to think I was cool or awesome… but sexy, how was I supposed to feel? Well I’ll tell you, I felt depressed. Many nights I cried myself to sleep. Feeling depressed made me want to commit suicide. One day after school I went to my grandmother's house and drank some liquid medicine and Sleepy Time tea so I could have a peaceful death. I looked in the mirror at myself, and my eyes were bloodshot red, and I felt like my soul had left my body.

You are probably thinking this story is about me or about middle school girls, but it’s not. About 56% of boys report that they have been occasionally sexually harassed in school and 30% reported that sexual harassment happens often. 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual harassment at a young age. 33% of overweight males have experienced sexual harassment. Sexual harassment happens to males as well as females.

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“ FLOW is the most amazing program that I have ever been in. It helped me become a better leader and a listener. I believe FLOW can help many young minors in this world.” A HAIKU

I really love FLOW It is a breath of fresh air Sun to a flower CHAUN’NELL SMILEY SHAW HIGH SCHOOL, 12 th GRADE


TENTH GRADE

WHAT IS LOVE? Brianna Harris

What is love? Love is something you feel and enjoy, right? Love is not always like that. Everyone wants to find that one person that fills up their happiness, but love can break you down to the point you can’t take it no more, so what’s the point of loving someone if they is not going to love you back?

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People love finding people that got the same thing you’re into. Like, I like to watch that show, and or, I love the colors red and pink too; I love pizza too; Things like that.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

But everything doesn’t always end up as happy as you think. What’s the point of some relationship? It’s always going to end up unhappy. It’s only a couple things coming out of a relationship, and getting in a fight is not even the worst thing. One minute you think you happy and enjoying life, then the next minute, you asking for help from your friends because you don’t know what to do because you just got beat up by the man of your dreams. The same man/boyfriend that said that he would never put his hands on you, well……….. To be continued.

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TENTH GRADE

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TENTH GRADE

DEPRESSION Summer Poke

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VOL. VII

The theory of depression is dark The demands of depression are hard You either hear the gun telling you to pull the trigger Or the rope yelling at you to hurry up and get it over with Or the voice of gravity pleading with you to jump down from The window on the eighth floor from a 30–story building But we must not blame those who kill themselves The soul wants to be free at all cost But we also must not listen to death. That’s a description of depression.

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TENTH GRADE

FEAR Chrislyn Thornton

Fear Why does fear take away our dreams? Why does fear make us say no when we really mean yes? Why does fear have so much control over our actions? Fear is a feeling that takes control without asking. Fear is a big bully that tells us what we can and cannot do. Fear is something that pulls us back when we just really want to move forward. Fear is something that closes our mouths. But really it’s our fault because we give fear the control We are too scared to stand up and tell fear we are bold. We are too scared to stand up to fear and say, yes I might fail but I’m still gonna try. We are too shy to say yes. We are too scared to say, Some people might not agree with me, but I’m still gonna stand for what I believe in. We are too embarrassed to say, Some people might look at me funny, but I’m still gonna be myself. We are too passive to say, Yes I might get my feelings hurt, but I’m still gonna speak how I feel. But I’m done letting fear take control. I’m taking back control. I’m done letting fear stand in front of me and not letting me move. So, today I stand up to fear and I say, I can do anything. I can be anything and I will be anything I want to be.

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TENTH GRADE

BULLYING Diandra Hubbard

The meaning of bullying is seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable), according to Webster’s Dictionary. In my mind, bullying is causing hurt and pain, it is really in vain. Tall, short, skinny, fat. They ask, Why do you look like that?

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You’re not pretty enough, you’re dumb. Your hair looks rough. You’re weak, not tough.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

Your head is too big, OMG is that a wig? Sometimes we don’t even realize the things we say can really hurt someone’s feelings ,and we do it to be “cool” or “popular” and to fit in with the crowd. But we need to stop now! Bullying is more than just saying things; it is hitting, spitting, punching, kicking. Those are all horrible acts and that’s a FACT! You’d be surprised how much bullying you actually see. We need to turn this around! Instead of hurtful things, we should be more understanding of other people and put ourselves in their shoes, because we don’t know what is going on in their life. We need to love and hug more, it’s as simple as holding a door or saying a nice word. Smiling at someone might also make their day. Being nice is as simple as bullying, so choose wisely.

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TENTH GRADE

I LIKE TO EAT Brianna Harris

I like Eggs, I like Fish. I like Cheese and Meat, I like Cakes and Biscuits, In Fact, I like to Eat. I don’t like Kiwi, I don’t like Turkey, I don’t like Carrots, I don’t like Raspberry On my head Bacon is so good, It always has a party in my tummy It’s always sizzling. When you have that first bite, crunch, crunch It’s all you really hear. But the crazy thing about it is ice cream: Bacon ice cream!

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TENTH GRADE

CHILD ABUSE Bernae Johnson

Child abuse should never happen, but yet it does

VOL. VII

Child abuse is when a caregiver or a parent or anyone abuses a child. It can be physical abuse or emotional abuse. Child abuse doesn’t have to be just physical hurting, it can be emotional hurting too. Because words HURT just as much as physical pain. There is also sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is when someone touches a person where they are uncomfortable. Why does it happen?

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

Sometimes people are going through things and they think it’s okay to take it out on a child because children are vulnerable and weak. Why don’t children speak up? They feel like they would be shamed because they let it happen. They would feel embarrassed because it happened to them. Maybe the abuser threatened to harm them or their loved ones if they spoke up. How can you prevent it? Tell your child to speak up if something doesn’t feel right. Then tell them to tell someone because they should always trust their first instincts.

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TENTH GRADE

Here’s a story about child abuse… A beautiful little girl named Ari was only 13 years old when the abuse started to happen. Her parents were divorced and her dad had a hard time coping with it. At first everything was okay, but then the abuse started to happen. One night while Ari was in her room she heard her drunk father stumble into the house. He would leave her alone from time to time to go to the bar and get drunk; it was his way of grieving. Ari ran into the closet hoping her father wouldn’t come in her room to look for her. But like always, he did... She was scared of what he might do to her. She always knew the outcome: black eyes and bruised body. He slammed the door open and started looking for his terrified daughter. He was ready to let some anger out. After searching every inch of her room, he finally realized there was only one more place she could be hiding. Her closet… So he opened the door of the closet, grabbing his crying daughter by the hair and started punching her and kicking her with no remorse. He even spit on her! He told her that she was the reason her mom left and he told her she would be nothing in life and that she should just go kill herself and do everyone a favor. After he was done, he left his bloody daughter on the floor. After hours of crying, she got up, took a shower and went to go lie down, dreading tomorrow when this will all replay over again...

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TENTH GRADE

SELF Ariya Powell

Who am I? But also, who are you? We are all the same in some ways, but also very different. We all come from different backgrounds or histories. So I ask you again, who exactly are you? In a sense, no one really knows who they are. We all sometimes use someone or something else to figure out exactly who we are.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

VOL. VII

Sometimes we use people as a crutch; we may not see them that way, but yet they are, and it hurts us as well as others. We can’t automatically decide what we will become, but we can very well figure it out on our own by ourselves without that crutch, which we assume we need because we’re just not good enough or good at something because our plan just didn’t work. But you don’t need a crutch—you’re better off as YOU—doing your OWN thing. Some of us may need to feel power over others, to feel strong through dominance, so we belittle others, crushing others’ spirits. Others of us turn towards the wrong things. We become rapists, murderers, wannabe gangsters, drug dealers—all because we don’t know who we actually are. For example, think of Rich—Rich is the only kid on his block with red hair, green eyes, and freckles. His mom is something of a Jamaican mix, and his father he hasn’t seen in years. Rich has so many differences between himself, family and others, but he doesn’t let that stop him. He goes into creative arts and makes a beautiful project, shown for miles around. Rich, even to this day, always asks himself, “Why am I so different?” “Who am I?” and always answers these questions with his marvelous paintings. That’s just one way to positively find you, as in YOURSELF!

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TENTH GRADE

Especially our youth, no matter who, what, where, how, or why: you must be yourself. Step one, find yourself and learn to love yourself, and step two, never disregard step one. Because we all are somebody. We were somebody at birth and at death we will be somebody! We all can do many things in this world to help change it or help face it. The first thing you think of is “saving the earth”or “being a part of the community.” But how can we, when we can barely save ourselves? We must all reflect and look out for ourselves before we come anywhere close to helping anyone else or the world independently. But if we’re all on the same page with ourselves then we have a way better shot at creating and uplifting things rather than destroying them. Become an actual somebody, strive towards greatness. You can do more than you think. So I ask you again, who are you? I may not know myself fully either, but one thing’s for certain and two things are for sure—you are you and I am me, and on this earth and in this world, we may not be where we want to be, but we can get there. So, for the time being, we are where we should be.

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TENTH GRADE

YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH A’Miyah Temple

This young boy is 14 years old. He’s popular, plays football, has decent grades, everyone wants him, and he stays out of trouble. His mom has recently found a new boyfriend.

VOL. VII

Michael looks surprised and shocked. “Please don’t call my mom. I haven’t been able to study because of football practice.”

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

It’s after class. Michael gets ready to leave class.”Michael, come here please,” the teacher said. “You’ve been failing my class, I have to call your mother.”

The teacher looks at him. “I’m calling your mom and that’s final. Let’s see what she has to say about you failing.” The teacher calls Michael’s mom. “Hi this is Mrs. Johnson. I’m calling to tell you Micheal has been failing his class.” “Hello, I’m her current boyfriend and she’s extremely busy right now,” John says. She speaks aggressively to him. “Oh, well Michael has been failing in my class.” John is confused. “Okay I’ll speak to him when he gets home,” he says and hangs up. Michael leaves the classroom and goes to practice. After practice he goes home thinking to himself, “John is not going to say anything to me.” He walks in the house feeling happy with a big smile on his face. As soon as he walks up to the door, his stomach drops and balls up into a ball. John looks at him, furious and upset. Michael doesn’t feel like smiling anymore and looks sad. He is nervous and afraid to walk past John. “Stop, come here boy,” John says. “The teacher called today and said you’re failing her class.” “I haven’t been able to study. I’ve been focusing on football,” Michael replies.

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TENTH GRADE

John is angry, telling Michael, “You think since you’re good at football you can’t study?” John starts laughing. “You’re not even good enough to play. You let a little boy tackle you. You’re WEAK!!” Michael looks at him, not knowing how to feel towards John. He cries, running to his room and falls asleep afterwards. The next morning he thinks about last night, feeling like someone threw a brick at his head. The only thing he could remember was John yelling, “You’re not good enough.” He couldn’t focus at school the whole day. He starts hearing more voices in his head and doubting everything he thinks about. “You’re nothing to no one,” he hears. The bell rings. Michael runs to practice. John telling Michael he wasn’t nothing still bothers him, and he isn’t in the right state of mind to play. He gets ready for the ball to be thrown to him and takes off running. It’s thrown to him, but he starts panicking and losing control of his breath. He drops the ball. The team doesn’t ask if he is okay. They all walk up to him and start criticizing him. “You can’t catch a ball, you suck, did you have butter on your hands?” the kids laugh. “The coaches should cut you off the team.” Michael snaps. “I quit. I don’t need this anyways,” and walks off. He goes home, trying to tell his mom about today, but she is sleeping after working all day. He walks to the dining room table to sit. “Stop! You’re not sitting here, you don’t deserve to sit here” John says, in a manly tone. “Why are you home anyways? It’s early.” Michael looks lost and starts to look around. “I quit the football team. They picking on me.” “I knew you weren’t good enough—acting like a little girl. You’re failing class and you can’t play football.”

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TENTH GRADE

“I am good enough,” Michael says. “I told you, you’re not going anywhere. You’re hopeless.” John gets close enough to whisper in his ear. “You’re never making it out of here.” YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH A’Miyah Temple

Michael bursts into tears, crying and running to his room. “I wish you wasn’t here!” he says, and slams the door before crying himself to sleep, having low self esteem and wanting to commit suicide. A few days later he tells his mother everything that happened. “Why would John say such things?” she replies.

VOL. VII

Michael, fearful but telling his mother the truth, says, “I was failing a few classes.” His mom starts yelling at him.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

“You’re not allowed to fail a class. You’re stupid! Go to your room and study because you’re not close to being smart!” Michael goes to his room and pushes himself into a dark place. The voices in his head are telling him, “No one loves you and you don’t have anything left.” “No, you’re lying,” he mumbles, stuttering to himself, and falls asleep. He wakes up thinking about not wanting to live again. This particular day becomes the day of his breaking point. He is tired of everyone not supporting him. He walks in class, and kids are pointing at him, calling him names. “Look at sissy, little girl!” “Stupid!” “You’re lame!” and “Loser,” they laugh. Michael starts yelling, “I’m done with this. I can’t take it anymore!” and leaves. No one knows it, but Michael goes into this dry, dark place in his head. “No one likes you.” “Yes they do.” “No family.” “You’re lying.” “They don’t care about you.” “Stop!” He goes back and forth with himself, trying to fight the voices in his head.

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TENTH GRADE

Then he stops fighting the voices and starts listening to the dark ones. He goes home, knowing his mom is at work. He finds a piece of paper and starts writing on it. “Everyone pushes me away and you didn’t help me. I can’t be here anymore.” Michael destroys the house, crying in frustration, not knowing what to do. He goes in the bathroom, looking in the mirror with tears running down his face. He looks at a bottle that says, “DO NOT OPEN.” He takes out all the pills out and swallows all of them. Looking in the mirror one last time, he tells himself, “You’re not good enough,” as he hits the floor.

“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” That’s not true at all. Sticks and stones leave bruises and scratches, when words cut you deep and leave an open wound. How come emotional abuse is only talked about when kids bully kids? How come no one talks about parents bullying kids? Sometimes parents don’t see themselves bullying their child; they see themselves helping their child. It’s unsafe to bully your children. Being a controlling and yelling adult makes the child feel isolated and unloved. We feel different emotions when we’re yelled at, and don’t want to be home or anywhere else. Emotional abuse is any act with verbal assault, humiliation, and intimidation. Emotional abuse can make a child feel worthless, alone, insecure, shameful, and fearful. Emotional abuse is without physical abuse—it’s done with words. Children, teens, and adults experience emotional abuse. Why are we comfortable being emotionally abused by people we love and by people we don’t know? Why do we shut down and become so cold hearted and act like we can’t love again? We don’t have to sit there and like each other, but at least respect each other. We need to understand that what you say does hurt people. You wouldn’t want to be a reason why someone would want to kill themselves. We all have different opinions. Something I like might not be something you like. That doesn’t mean there’s a need to say anything about it. Keep it to yourself because no one wants to hear negativity, and it can be abuse.

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OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES VOL. VII

1

eleventh

TOPIC

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1 TOPIC

grade

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ELEVENTH GRADE

JEALOUSY Artistine Beavers

Why is jealousy such a thing? Why is there so much jealousy? Let me tell you a story about a young man who once lived in Cleveland. He was 18 years old. He had younger brothers and sisters. He was the oldest out of his mother’s kids.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

VOL. VII

This young man had a wild childhood. There was always trouble coming towards him: getting kicked out of school, getting into fights, going down the wrong path. He had a bunch of friends, but his family always told him “Everyone’s not your friend. Never put your trust in everyone around you.” He always had thought that he wasn’t going to make it to 19 as long as he lived in Cleveland. In Cleveland, you can’t even be in one spot for too long. You can’t even show something off without someone getting mad, or hating and trying to steal it from you. Why do so many young people not have the hope to make it to 19 in Cleveland? Why is there so much violence happening? Can anyone really answer those questions? So, the young man in our story didn’t feel that it was safe for him in his neighborhood in Cleveland, so he left Cleveland for some months to stay away from trouble. He was getting his mind in the right place. He was trying to keep his mind on track. On February 6 of 2018, he decided to come back to Cleveland to see family and friends that he left behind. That night he came to visit his mother with his friend. When he was leaving the house to go be with his friends his mother told him “Be careful” and told his friends to “Watch my son’s back.”

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ELEVENTH GRADE

That same night, we got the news that a teen was found shot in the head and dumped on the side of the road. He was shot multiple times; he was shot in the head twice. His body was dumped on the ground, left like he wasn’t nothing. He was only 18 years old. All because of jealousy? Because he decided to do better for himself? And because others didn’t like it? They decided to take him out for what he had. Jealousy is a very weird thing. It can make a person do so many wrong things. My cousin wasn’t always right, but he was always in my heart. He cared for everyone around him. He would give anything to help others. Jealousy is a dangerous thing. It pushes people to the edge, and causes destruction.

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ELEVENTH GRADE

LYING Dominique Inniss

Lying. Why do we lie? We lie to our mom, we lie to our dad, and we lie to our children. What’s the point in the lie of the tooth fairy, and for what reason do we lie about why she needs our teeth? Tell me, who do we neglect to tell the truth and why do we make up white lies for money?

VOL. VII

We lie for fame, we lie for revenge, we lie about Santa, Old Saint Nicholas to our kids to give him or her the credit.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

But why do we lie to our Mom, telling her she doesn’t look fat in that dress? Parents lying about how the dog ran away, but really, it’s under the ground. Why do we lie to our ex, saying “it’s me not you?” Why do dads lie? Saying they are going to the store knowing they aren’t coming back. What’s really the point of lying?

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“ In FLOW [Soapbox Project] I’ve further learned to understand my feelings, put them into writing, and move others with my words. I’ve found out and learned so many things during the twice–a– week visits, when we explore creative writing. It gives me something to look forward to.” ARIYA POWELL MAPLE HEIGHTS HIGH SCHOOL, 10 th GRADE


ELEVENTH GRADE

DEPRESSION Aaliyah Monroe

I am not who people think I am. I cry. I fall out. I’m not that strong. There are times that I want to give up. I don’t want to grow up, but I want to be grown. I don’t want to give out my love, but I do because I know what it’s like to be alone.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

VOL. VII

They call your depression “attention–seeking behavior;” after that you don’t know who to talk to. You don’t want people to be sorry for you, you just want them to care. You don’t want them to talk back, you just want them to listen. You sit in class with a pile of your own thoughts consuming your mind. Teachers think you’re being difficult to work with. Really it’s your own thoughts telling you, “you can’t do it.” To just go to sleep. People don’t know me. Depression is a mental disorder. I was diagnosed with it when I was 12 years old. I’ve had a lot of loss and trauma in my life. On top of that, you can inherit it. My mom has depression. It was passed down from her to me, on top of losing a lot of people and tragic events. With depression, you can’t help but feel sad. Yes, you have your happy moments, but for me it feels like I’m never truly happy, but everyone’s depression is different. Why does this happen? I don’t know. It’s my own thoughts. When does this happen? All the time. Out of nowhere. How does it make me feel? Hopeless.

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ELEVENTH GRADE

MY SISTER Aaliyah Monroe

Bright yellow like SpongeBob. Hot as a stove top. Snappy like Cardi. Bouncy like a rabbit. Joyful like me. Long brown kinky hair that falls to the back. Big feet, like Thumper’s. Big brown eyes like acorns. Mean attitude like angry. My sister. Tall as me when I was her age. My sister. A couple years’ apart from my age. My sister. I’m the one she looks up to. She wants to be just like me. So if i just described my sister, I just described myself.

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ELEVENTH GRADE

BULLYING Ciera Johnson

On Wednesday April 7, 2017, back when I was in 7th grade, some girls threatened me and called me all types of names. They told me they were going to spit on me, and I was too shy to stand up for myself so my friends stood up for me instead.

VOL. VII

I was in the library sitting on the floor and those girls started to sit beside me even though I was trying to get away from them.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

This would go on for months and I finally went to go tell my teacher and she told me to just “Ignore them.’’ Then she only asked me did I want her to change my seat. I was very angry so I decided to take it into my own hands and storm into the principal’s office. I told her what was going on and she said she was going to handle it. The next day we were in reading class when the teacher called on me to read. The bullies were calling me dumb, saying that I couldn’t read and trying to spit on me, so I told my teacher and she talked to them about it. It happened again and again and she did nothing after the first time she told them. I got really frustrated and aggravated, and all she could say is “ignore them.” Bullying is a problem for many kids. The reasons kids get bullied are because of their race, the way they look, the way they dress or other reasons. I feel like people bully on other people because they’re angry. They have different emotions built up in them, and they take it out on other people. How will this bullying situation end? We had a Christmas Concert at the school one night and when the concert ended, I told my mom that those were all the girls’ mothers that were bullying me. My mom went up to one of the girls’ mothers, and asked her if she could talk to her. And then the other mother came over there, and we were talking about it and there I was crying again.

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ELEVENTH GRADE

ANIMAL CRUELTY Dyani Love

Why? That’s my first question, why? Why would people put their hands on innocent animals... pets! Animals are our friends and love us. People treat animals like toys. THERE ARE SO MANY ANIMAL AWARENESS PAGES! The savages in this world is just horrible. WHY? How could people do that? How could people be that cruel? Animals are creatures of the world, not chew toys. You can’t just throw and cut up animals like science experiments. They are not stress balls or punch bags. Their lives matter too. We are not better than them, but we are smarter. If you are going to mistreat an animal, don’t get one, or give that animal to someone that will love that animal.

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ELEVENTH GRADE

IN THE DARK Moniesha Haggins

I’m in the dark trying to find the light it’s hurtful to even go on in life like what’s the point at this point in time I don’t even know if I will be able to see another day

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

VOL. VII

Have you ever just been in your room sitting with your thoughts thinking you’re not worth even being on this planet? William Arthur, Kelly Yeomans, Hamed Nastoh, and Dawn Marie all killed themselves because being on this horrible planet was too much to bear This world is full of hatred, sadness, dirt, violence and the list goes on They knew the consequences of doing what they did and still did it People were hurt, but they couldn’t tell anyone their problems How do you tell someone in your family you are stressed and depressed? When you do say that you are, they ask you—how are you stressed when you just a kid? KIDS CAN GET STRESSED they can feel hopeless they can feel like they want to end it all You adults say you once were kids too so you should understand the feeling like you are nothing, never good enough, not strong enough

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ELEVENTH GRADE

and when your family talks about you behind your back about the same shit you feel that just adds to the pain and guilt You decide maybe if i talked to a therapist it will help IT DOESN’T you just sit there and lie because they don’t understand anything you feel. They haven’t gone through the stuff you have and the tragedy you have been through it’s just crazy how people go through this hurt and sadness every day WE NEED TO MAKE A CHANGE AND HELP PEOPLE IN NEED OF SUPPORT So we don’t let what happened to William Arthur happen to the next child.

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ELEVENTH GRADE

TO MY CREATORS Danaya Robinson

To my Creators:

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

VOL. VII

You’re supposed to be my protector My heart The one I run to when I have boy problems Or friend problems Or any at all. You’re supposed to be my best friend— I don’t blame you that we aren’t as thick as thieves or two peas in a pod But I do blame you for how I feel. I want to be able to run to you when I’m upset Not worry about what you’ll think. I want to know that no matter what You will be on my side. I don’t want to argue. I just want you to listen to me and See that I am not OK. And to my father: Why can’t I depend on you to be there? Why can’t i depend on you to call? Do you even know what I want to be when I grow up? Do you know me at all? I love you though. I cannot change that no matter what I may say or how I may feel. I just ask that you listen. I hide a lot of hurt and pain behind my smile, even though you may not see it. Yes, a kid can hurt. Yes, a kid can have worries and problems. Yes, a kid stresses. What you don’t see is that there is hurt behind this smile. I just want to know that I can always run to my mother and father And they will tell me it’s OK— But I can’t. Sincerely the Created 58


ELEVENTH GRADE

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OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES VOL. VII

TOPIC

twelfth grade

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12

TOPIC

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TWELFTH GRADE

RACIAL DISCRIMINATION Alex Spence

Would you judge me for what I look like? Why do I always get a look from people like they don’t like me? How could you judge someone you don’t know just because of looks? Why would you judge me for what I look like: tall, dark, and handsome? Why judge me for where I come from? I wish I could change that people judge me for being black.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

VOL. VII

This is not just a problem for one group of people. Everyone is affected by discrimination, no matter if you want to be or not. All it takes is for someone to say something about you and to start a rumor, then that could get people to start judging a certain race of people. Everyone is affected by this so why don’t we just drop it? Everyone bleeds the same way, so why make it a big deal that my skin is darker than yours? Never hate people because they’re different from you. I remember when I walked in a store with some of my friends and they told us to leave our book bags up front. What makes you do that when you have over a thousand people visit and we are the only ones that you ask, but when someone of the same race or skin color as you walks in with one you don’t even mind them? See, that is just something you do to try and separate us from y’all. So, would you still judge me? Life only gets harder when we hate each other instead of coming together to make our lives easier. Knowing that, I hope you take a look in the mirror and focus on seeing the bigger picture, because the best part of some things are the things you can’t see, which makes anything visible with the eyes only not important.

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TWELFTH GRADE

HUMAN TRAFFICKING An’Neisa D. Mills

Human trafficking has been a big problem in Detroit. Recently the FBI found 11 victims of sex trafficking in Detroit. Nine of the victims were children and two were adults. Human trafficking is really a terrible and upsetting problem because this leads to people feeling crazy, scared and even depressed. Some people who are in a human trafficking situation do not mentally know what’s going on because they are being drugged and brainwashed. You think people would notice, but they don’t! The people that drug these children and adults are selfish and are monsters! It is disgusting! So my question is, Why do people do this to others? People do this to others because they see young people as easy targets and they have no type of control over themselves and traffickers see that vulnerability. What are people doing about this? Where does this happen? Does anyone have the answers? Are they so ashamed of themselves that they need people to suffer with them? These are questions I do not understand. I fear that someone close to me will get kidnapped and beaten to death everyday. I feel this way because people are so young that they do not get a chance to live their lives, and all they know is how people treated them, and now they think it is okay for them to be the way they are. This has always been in the back of my mind. I think people should take better care of looking out for their loved ones. Human trafficking is a dangerous game that people do not want to play with or about.

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TWELFTH GRADE

WHAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF? Donald Black

Fear is an unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined. Another sort of fear is anxiety. Anxiety is where your body naturally reacts to stress or what is about to happen.

VOL. VII

Most people react to fear by burying it deep inside, not knowing how much damage it is doing.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

People who are afraid will try to hide their flaws. Once there was a boy who was constantly bullied about how he looked. He was light–skinned and had an afro and he didn’t think like other people. He got teased for being childish. He tried to change but eventually he suffered from symptoms of depression and had constant breakdowns. What lingered in his mind was that he could not be himself. He felt like he had become a character that wasn’t his real self. He was afraid that if he went back to his real self he would get picked on or shunned for it. He was trapped and wanted to kill himself. Unfortunately, he succeeded. Most people deal with fear by facing it and expressing how they feel towards the thing they are afraid of. Once I was a new kid at a new school and did not feel comfortable. As I was walking in, I was immediately addressed about my appearance by a class clown. The way I reacted was unnecessary. I shrugged my shoulders and gave an ignorant comedic insult and sat down, which drew attention back towards him. Now that’s not exactly the proper way of handling a situation because it could lead to altercations, but at least I faced my fear, and it solved my problem. He didn’t talk about me for the rest of the year.

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TWELFTH GRADE

People often let fear stop them from goals because they are scared of failure. They may regret the need to try to be great when it becomes a hassle. Some feed on fear in many different ways—like class clowns and people who dish it out because that’s how they deal with fear (at least that’s what I think). Fear can attack you at any age or any level. Fear does not discriminate. So deal with it as you may, but stay cautious—it can sneak up on you, and before you even realize it, fear attacks you viciously.

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TWELFTH GRADE

TIME David Claybrooks

People will never understand that they are wasting their time. We get so caught up in today’s world that people don’t know how to live in the present moment.

VOL. VII

Why is it so important to be in the moment? The fact is, there is no point in worrying about the past or other people. You are only able to control what you can do now, in the moment.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

In this world we live in, so many things are distracting us from reaching our goals, dreams, our life purpose, and what we were brought here to do in this world. Social media is the biggest distraction of them all. People waste time scrolling and scrolling, taking pictures, selfies, and worrying about the next big thing or what’s trending. Not only that, but people waste time looking on their feed at other pictures and believe that people are living their best life possible. In reality, people create a false image of themselves while other people are affected by this. Time is valuable. We only have but so much of it. In 2017, the time spent on social media was about 135 minutes per day. In 2019 that estimate has grown to 153 minutes per day. If an average lifespan is 72 years, and say, someone ten years old starts using social media, that person will spend a total of 3,462,390 minutes of their whole lives on social media. That is a lot of time spent, especially if that’s not the only thing you would be doing—such as your job, socializing with others, eating, sleeping. Try to be more consciously aware of how you spend your time. Time is valuable, and we only have but so much of it. Time isn’t free, and it’s something we will never get back.

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TWELFTH GRADE

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TWELFTH GRADE

FINAL DESTINATION Jordan Buchanan

I was born into the world; it’s windy and cold. I’m crying, and I need to be comforted. I have siblings; I like them. I see others that look like me and some that don’t. I get to eat food, but I have to go right to my room afterwards. Bummer, right? I hear the others out living their “life.”

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

VOL. VII

My neighborhood is very dangerous. One day me and my family got kicked out of our house, so we got split up. The new place I live in now is terrible, graphic, and dangerous. There are different people, all shapes and sizes. Every morning I heard crying and screaming. The nights were more peaceful, and I could sleep. I began to notice that my friends were leaving, quite fast actually. More like everyday. I was so confused as to where they were going. I began to become sad because they left without saying goodbye. This became quite frequent. Every time I make new friends they leave with nothing said, not even goodbye. Trucks would come, and I’d see others that look similar to me on them. Eventually someone came to get me. I was nervous because I’d never seen them before. I went inside this room with machines and equipment in it. I never got to go back to my room and snuggle in my bed as I normally do after I finish my food. Guess where I ended up ? You’ll never guess! Take one more guess. Okay I’ll tell you. I ended up on a plate, then inside of you. They put me inside a machine alive and turned it on. It crushed my bones until I was flat, with blood gushing everywhere. All on the walls and floors. My blood just going down the drain. The others heard my cry for help and began to cry and scream because they knew they’d be next, and there was nothing they could do. I lost my life so that you could live.

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TWELFTH GRADE

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TWELFTH GRADE

BLACK ON BLACK Marquice Baker

Blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice, but what am I supposed to do if my fruit’s ripe but don’t get picked. I’m a genius, and I know it, but I can’t show it, so I’m pissed. How ‘bout I hit a lick, I see that chick down the street, always got some new shit, but dang she got a kid.

VOL. VII

I can be an architect. The way I can plan it—youngest race on the planet. I should be a war general with all this evil.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

I need to get rid of these demons, but I keep sinking, I keep dreaming, my ambitions make me greedy, gives me a grievous fault. And I’m hungry and lost, I gotta eat, my brother might pick me off, knock me off my feet, et tu brute. That’s the worst, scared of death, can’t see a hearse, So I’m toast, I already saw my father’s ghost. His brother betrayed him, it’s really just a cycle, idols become rivals. So as I stare down the barrel of the 9, I think as a little kid I was young and wild, now I’m lost and angry. But imma be great and pure, and I will endure the pain of the hood—momma on the shit, she ain’t doing no good, raised in the projects, so imma project, and I tried to use sports, become a top prospect, but y’all choose who y’all want. Not to make an excuse, but y’all knew what y’all was doing when y’all was creating this new race, gave my brother the whip and said it was life or death, you don’t see how to translate to today. To be a killer or not be, I have a question.

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TWELFTH GRADE

What y’all expect me to do when my lil sister don’t got no shoes and my stomach touching my tailbone, no cell phone, no one to call. Losing my family and friends in the streets, can’t even have a dog. So yeah, I kill, yeah I rob, yeah I steal, because It’s a dog–eat–dog world. Can’t trust the women of the house, can she just want a purse, everyone can’t rap and spit a verse, she gotta dance on the pole, degrade herself and feel like she gotta be a man and woman... So what she need me for? She’s Miss Independent and she’ll turn against me for survival; set me up and expose me, and now I can’t trust, just want lust and I’m all messed up and I’m arrogant, can’t nobody touch me because my history shows I’m a king who wouldn’t touch a god, and now the mob has destroyed my people, so now I’m a nonbeliever who doesn’t believe in anything.

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OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES VOL. VII

TWELFTH GRADE

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“ My experience with FLOW these past two years have made me a better writer and a better thinker. FLOW helped me a lot with writing essays, letters and applications. FLOW could really shape you into a better writer and performer because when you are up on the Soapbox Stage, you may be nervous but that’s okay because people are there for you and to listen to you and what you have to say about your world and your life.” AN’NEISA D. MILLS CLEVELAND CENTRAL CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL, 10 th GRADE


ADDITIONS

HOLD YOUR DRINK CAREFULLY IN YOUR HANDS Anonymous

My cousin’s name is JT and she was molested at the age of 25 at a bar. She was out with her friends, and she brought a drink, and she set it down, and when she walked away some men slipped something in her cup.

VOL. VII

She came back and picked her drink back up and drank, and after she drank some of her drink she passed out. Then a group of men molested her and took her car and money.

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

The bar manager had to call 911 and they told her she shouldn’t set her cup down anymore. Then they told her to make a police report. She made a report at the 4th district Cleveland police department about her car and her car keys being stolen. The next day my grandma went to go get her from her friend’s house. She wanted to spend the night at my grandparents’ house so she could feel safe, because she said she didn’t feel safe staying at home by herself at the moment. When we left, she went to go see if she was ok, and the daughter went to stay with her grandparents for a day or two because she didn’t want her child to see her like that. When the daughter had found out what had happened she was crying her eyes out. Then her daughter, who was only 9, was so scared. This has impacted her life because now she barely goes out anymore, and if she does go out, she goes to her friend’s house and has fun over there. I look up to her as if she were my older sister. I don’t want to see none of my family members getting hurt like she did. This affects me because this situation made me think when I get older I don’t want to go out no more or if I do, I’m going to hold my drink very carefully in my hands.

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ADDITIONS

PROGRESSING... Shauntaja Treadwell

Do Good Be Dope Stay Fly Live Different My Motto I go by every day I choose not to let the past get to me anymore What’s done is done and whatever I can’t change— I’m not gonna let it stress me out so much I’ve been Quiet, Shy, and Insecure person, not any more Time to form a Beautiful, Successful and Better Me I’m progressing just give me a minute so Dope, so Fly, and very Different I am a Dancer I don’t dance because I want to I dance because I need to I tell a story by the movements of my body I dance because I get this amazing feeling of a better me through the movement of arms and the rhythm of the music so me, I’m progressing but still staying Fly and living Different by being amazingly Dope!

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biographies biographies biographies biographies biographies biographies biographies biographies biographies biographies


BIOGRAPHIES

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neighborhoods

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BIOGRAPHIES

SL AVIC VIL L AGE

Dyani Love 11 th GRADE My past can affect my future.

Aaliyah Monroe 11 th GRADE

VOL. VII

I am depressed, but I’m alive.

Artistine Beavers 11 th GRADE

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

Forever be yourself, I don’t change.

An’Neisa Mills 12 th GRADE I always have hope for myself.

Alex Spence 12 th GRADE Never give up, I keep pushing.

Diandra Hubbard 10 th GRADE I am very talented and inspiring.

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BIOGRAPHIES

Dominique Inniss 11 th GRADE Gamer, determined, I’m eager to learn.

Bernae Johnson 10 th GRADE I’m very dedicated, caring and inspiring.

Brianna Harris 10 th GRADE Smart, hardworking, kind hearted, dedicated, happy.

Chrislyn Thornton 10 th GRADE Quiet, observant, kind, determined, smart, talented.

Marquice Baker 12 th GRADE Charming, smart, kind, caring, manipulative, vindictive.

Ciera Johnson 11 th GRADE Smart, funny, lovely, leader, pretty, aspiring.

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BIOGRAPHIES

E AST C L E VEL AND

Jordan Buchanan 10 th GRADE Self–doubting and quiet An amazing person A homicide detective and lawyer

VOL. VII

Jalecia Claytor 10 th GRADE Shy and bright Outgoing and optimistic

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

A powerful lawyer

Janyah Hannah 10 th GRADE Quiet and mean Outgoing and ambitious Determined for greatness

A’Miyah Temple 10 th GRADE Nice, sometimes shy Strong beautiful woman Figuring out a way to stay successful

A’Myah Temple 10 th GRADE Diligent and Independent Creative and hard working Motivated woman!

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BIOGRAPHIES

MAPLE H E IG HTS

Donald Black 12 th GRADE Too young to worry about like worries Struggles builds amazing characteristics by logic Day work of life’s hard work

VOL. VII

Danielle Fuller 9 th GRADE My past self was weak My present self is progressing

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

Brighter, stronger, successful and a better me

Moniesha Haggins 11 th GRADE Felt left behind fell into sadness In need of advice and help Ready to get back on track

Jordan Ingram 9 th GRADE I was a happy little kid I’ve been through stuff that is unexplainable Life hopefully I will understand life

Danaya Robinson 11 th GRADE Was unfocused, was unfound, was unhappy Now focused, now determined, now hilarious Big dreams, big accomplishments, big degrees

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BIOGRAPHIES

David Claybrooks 12 th GRADE I am a student athlete. I run track and play basketball. I see myself gifted with many talents. I love to make music, inspirational videos, and write poems. Five years from now, I see myself being a very successful entrepreneur in the business world. I am willing to help other natural born leaders on the road to success to accomplish their goals and dreams.

Shauntaja Treadwell ALUMNI I am Shauntaja Treadwell, a 19 year old poet. I graduated from Maple Heights High School in 2019. If I am not writing poetry, my other passion is dance. It’s another way for me to express myself. What motivates me to write is my mindset. I’m in a different state of mind when I’m writing. Writing gives me the same feeling that I get from dance. It just makes me happy and I feel comfortable.

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OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES VOL. VII

BIOGRAPHIES

28

students

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FUTURE LEADERS OF THE WORLD 2020 OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES VOL. IV

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OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES VOL. IV