Black Child: a poem about social injustice

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Poetry can be a powerful way to raise awareness of the many diverse experiences of young people. Kids Help Phone had the chance to team up with youth artist TMP on their poem “Black Child”, highlighting the unique experiences that many Black youth face. Here, Kids Help Phone shares TMP’s poem and learns more about using art for wellness and self-expression.

TMP shared with us, “I have so much fun creating art and writing poetry. There’s so much to say and speak on, and I find it easiest to write about them. I get all my thoughts together. And I use fun metaphors or personifications to give what I have to say, life and sometimes deep meanings. There’s never a limit to the fun that I have while I write.”

Writing, poetry and art can help to build community and raise awareness of social injustice (unfair rules or practices in society). A teacher asked TMP for their thoughts on a new course about anti-Black Racism in North America, and why this type of course was needed. TMP decided to use poetry to express why they felt the course was so important. “I thought, what better way to talk about the importance of the course, than to talk about Black experiences?”

Black Child

Black girl growing up
Black girl going to school
Black girl having hair
Black girl wanna be cool
Black girl confused
Black girl doesn’t know the rules.

Hol’ on

Black boy growing up
Black boy going to school
Black boy gets shot

Hol’ on. Run that back

Black boy growing up
Black boy going to school
Black boy not being a stereotype
Black boy gets A’s
Black boy has joy
Black boy shows joy
Black boy have friends
Black boy has home
Black boy goes home
Black boy gets shot

Hol’ on now. Change the narrative.

One child growing up
One child loves the life
One child has love
One child has school
One child has friends that look like them
One child goes to class
One child learns their history

One child lucky
One child has privilege

One child goes home….

One child has dinner
One child goes to desk and does homework
One child sleeps peacefully
One child wakes up to scholarships and is proud
One child goes to…

Let’s end it there
One child is white
Let’s backtrack to my narrative
To the black child

Black child wakes up
Black child breathes
Black child wants to live
Black child faces micro-aggression
Black child wants to be beautiful
Black child wants to be cool
Black child wants to be seen
Black child is beautiful
Black child is cool
Black child is not seen

Black child wants to live
Black child sees no opportunities
Black child is not lucky
Black child does not know their History
Black child does not know their story
Black child is deprived
Black child is struggling
Black child wants change
Black child wants mic
Black child is not heard
Black child is silenced
Black child in school, minimal representation
Black child wants representation,
You’ve heard the story before
Black child wants change, black child enter deputation.

Art can bring up strong emotions in a short amount of time. If you need support after watching the video or reading this poem, our e-mental health services are available 24/7 to support you. Black youth can text RISE to 686868 or Facebook Messenger to connect with a trained, volunteer crisis responder. If you’d prefer to chat with other young people about how you’re feeling, you can check out the Peer-to-Peer Community at Kids Help Phone.

Kids Help Phone would like to thank TMP for sharing their powerful poem and story with young people across Canada! TMP is one of many young artists involved with Leadership by Design, a program that provides leadership development opportunities to youth of Black and African-Canadian heritage.