Every year at this time we explore those that have left an impact on this world. We learn that words are powerful. They have the power to hurt and they have the power to heal. One of the biggest phrases we often hear our girls express is, “I’m not being heard.” They have a strong desire for their voice to go out into the world and for others to sincerely hear those words and to share their hopes and dreams. Sometimes, however, they struggle to understand that in the midst of all they have experienced those dreams can come true.
We often put people in front them and introduce them to people who despite adversity have accomplished life changing things. We read Maya and Langston and explore the amazing science behind the peanut thanks to George Washington Carver. We learn about Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Ruby Bridges among a few who stood firm and brave. These men and women all had different ways of getting their voice out to the world, and the words and actions they expressed had lasting effects. They didn’t sit idly by, they took action. Sometimes quietly and sometimes loudly, but they did something.
We recently began a new book, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. This book is a beautiful memoir of her life growing up as an African-American woman during the civil rights movement. Her memoir is written in poetry and so far the girls have found many poems they can relate to. This week one poem, in particular, spoke to us. Below is an excerpt from her poem titled, “Second Daughter’s Second Day on Earth.”
I do not know if these hands will become
Malcolm’s raised and fisted
Or Martin’s open and asking
Or James’s curled around a pen.
I do not know if these hands will be
And fiercely folded
Calmly in a lap,
On a desk,
Around a book,
To change the world…
As we read these words, I couldn’t help but think about one question, “What will my hands become?” and as I thought about it, I posed this question to the girls and asked them to respond.
One girl, “Sophia,” a 15-year-old who loves to write quickly began composing her poem. She almost couldn’t wait to share it with us, and she has given me permission to share it with others.
Administrator of Education
The Covering House