Lifting Their Voices: At Youth Speak Event, Teens Read Original Poetry About The Harder Side Of Life In KC

It is not easy being a teenager in Kansas City. As inner-city teens enrolled in the Youth Ambassadors program took turns reading each other’s original poetry, their works gave insight into the sometimes harsh realities and struggles facing our community’s younger demographic.

Teen pregnancy, life on the streets, drug addiction, violence towards women, and incarcerated parents are some of the many mature and difficult topics expressed by the teenagers during the Youth Speak event held at Unity Temple on the Plaza last Tuesday, March 1st. Nearly 20 Youth Ambassadors penned the poetry from their own personal experiences.

Read the full article about Youth Speaks and watch journal reading excerpts at Re:Dream had a presence at this event. Below are the dreams shared by the Youth Speak participants:

My American Dream is…

to get my novel off the ground
Find the cure for cancer
To have kids not on the streets
To stop wasting time
Stop racism in our country
For all of the young men to live a full life and not die of violence
To become a chef and end hunger
To find a way to stop senseless violence so kids can run and play in the neighborhood
To have a lot of successful black women
For adults to stand up and help us change- you are adults for a reason
To graduate from college and become a successful black man
TO be happy and stable
To allow our children to dream without being ridiculed
For people to stop depicting our urban youth as scary- they’re amazing
To not have people on corners begging for money
To see everyone get a fair chance
For vulnerability to not be punished
For a gay man and a straight man to be not seen in a different way
To get the homeless off the streets so they don’t have to beg for what they need
For more parents to support the schools and community outreach
To see more fathers in the home and community
To stop violence
For more job openings so people don’t have to do bad things
To stop bullying
For children to love to learn again
To stop date rape
For people to stop doing things they don’t believe in
To not worry about police being a threat but to actually protect us
For women to take care of our girls so they don’t have to go through what they went through
For men in the system to get a fair chance
To help people with depression and anxiety- to help them survive in the world
For black and white folks to have equal rights
To graduate from high school and college so my mother doesn’t have to work anymore
To sit in rooms like this more often and listen to each other
That everyone has the opportunity to achieve their potential… to be their best self
To BE the American dream
For people to make better decisions so they don’t have to live with guilt
To help our environment
To pay attention to depression and suicide signs because to see some you love in a casket hurts so bad you want to do the same
That everyone has a foster home as good as mine
That every child reaches their full potential- no matter what circumstances they’re born into
TO have more programs like Youth Ambassadors- so everyone has a voice and no one goes unheard
That we remember each of these dreams and take the second steps to achieve them
To read every single day

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