What Does It Mean To Be A Black Woman? A Poem.

I am often judged before a crowd

my clothes make me a target

mama says I have to be careful

my color makes me a target

because I am black


I cannot walk the streets alone at night

because I am black and am woman


they tell me to show emotion but

not too much because I am a black woman


they say the most powerful thing I have

is between my legs because I am woman


I, they tell me, am usually

from a broken home because I’m black


I’ll never be as good as my male

counterparts because I am woman


I am often judged before a crowd

my body is a public temple repairable

by man I am to be seen like decoration

because I am woman


I am the unwanted immigrant

my contributions mean nothing

because I am black


I have to aspire to perfection.

I have to realize rarely I am

good enough because I am woman


I am the style that everyone has

everyone wants the benefits without

having to be me- cultural appropriation

they tell me, is not real


I am the minority that produces the majority

I am the flower that suffers in the winter

gallantly swaying in the wind. my history is not told

in truth I am the minority they wish was quiet I am

the roll of thunder at the crack of injustice


I am Sybrina Fulton


I stand in the puddle of my son’s blood

gazing at an unreal sight


I am the double minority, the unappreciated.

I am the black woman.


More Poems:

“Peace”: You Have To Read This Powerful Poem About Police Violence

Young Politician: A Poem


RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Boston Public Library/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

An Optimistic Poem About South Africa’s Water Crisis

Is there a hint of optimism concealed in South Africa’s water shortage crisis?

When drought brings about hope

Thinking back to my childhood

water was never a concern.

The communal tap supplied us daily –

we filled our buckets to the brim.


And as I quenched my thirst with freshly caught rain water

ice cold and refreshing

I did not even realise

that this was indeed a blessing.


Now the children learn from young

to value each and every drop.

No longer is it limitless –

at any time the supply can stop.


Yet, in this time of crisis

South Africans are coming together.

“Please, let rain fall from the sky”,

they pray to the Creator.


Sharing tips, sharing ideas

to make it last, this scarce commodity.

To the outsider this may even come across

as an obsession, or a bit of an oddity.


“Use bath water to water the garden

Close the tap while brushing your teeth

Put a brick in your toilet’s cistern

And defrost frozen foods in the fridge


If it’s yellow, let it mellow

Rinse dishes in a basin

Wash your car on the lawn

Cover the pool to avoid evaporation”


So while the drought disaster may cause fear

it also brings about a new form of appreciation.

It shows unity during hardship

and leaves me with hope for our rainbow nation

More from our South Africa Team: 

Calling Young South African Writers, Journalists And Leaders: Tell Your Story And Make A Difference

Meet Eddie Ndopu: The First Disabled African To Attend Oxford University

More Original Poetry: 

Young Politician: A Poem

“What Do You Live For?” Series: An American Educated South African Answers That Question In A Poem

“Peace”: You Have To Read This Powerful Poem About Police Violence

Everyone Should Read This Incredibly Powerful Poem A Man Wrote To His Transgender Sister

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: dasroofless/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Young Politician: A Poem

“Young Politician”

As I sit here reading about policy briefs, I hesitate, then pray for our commander in chief.

I may not agree, he didn’t receive my vote, but I am patriotic so I will maintain hope.

As a person someday soon running for office, I maintain integrity as I try to win over my caucus.

Stigmas are there, you will corrupt, your morals will go bare, but I say no, money and power will not move my hand, will not change my views, I don’t care if alone I stand.

Low funding will make difficult obtaining an electorate, but with hard work and perseverance never being separate, I believe, I predict, a change will occur, all people will unite and democracy will endure.

A flood will WASH out, flINGing TONs, remove the poison of buying power, of swearing in sons.

Maybe this is all just a young politicians dream, creating an ideological view of our decision making teams.

Once more I say that this is what I strive for, equality, dignity, and the ability to find more.

This is just my view of what America should provide, my goal is to stand for those I represent.

I promise I will never hide.

Learning by doing is the only way, I meet with my representatives to understand the game they play.

Association leaders and coalitions alike, observing humanities definition creates an adrenaline spike.

Everyone has a stake for this is just the life we live, controlling our outcomes, finding a way to give.

Back to the community and back to the land.

Making sure the environment has a person for which with to stand.

The media may only try to show some of the viscous side, but our leaders do care for people, their jobs just happen to coincide.

A difficulty will be the fact of reelection, without missing the point of why I represent a collection.

A collection of people and of their visions.

For the future, for the culture, there is always some missions.

There are back room discussions about how to make our nation great, some see national politics as hard to relate.

I plan to start small, just a county man for now, that’s all.

But if life were to take me to the big time, I promise to never commit a crime.

Once again the struggle is to truly work for the people, the ones who worship no one and those under the steeple.

Those new to this country and those here for generations.

Creating positive change is possible, but there are always implications.

Tradeoffs and realities are hard to ignore.

For most people this is a continuous bore.

Another goal is to never neglect the process.

This is the only way to truly make progress.

I know there will be dissent and I can handle the heat.

Because I want to be the politician that everyone can meet.

That everyone can trust and rely on to do what’s best.

My approval rating will however not be that test.

It will be the smiles on all the faces of the people’s lives I have changed.

And maybe in the future another hopeful will have a meeting arranged.

My final wish is that the next generation will be even better.

More honest, more caring, and tougher than leather.

That is how this country has continued to grow.

It will never be easy however, so everyone just prepare for a show.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Oliver Bildesheim/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“What Do You Live For?” Series: An American Educated South African Answers That Question In A Poem


For the morning drizzle outside
cuddled with a lover
or the sweat on my brow
while I lift boulders.

For the smell of spices from a cast iron orange pot
or the lingering taste of fermented grapes
in the lull of a Thursday evening.

For the black man who waves
at a white baby
or the queer who helps the straight guy sow.

For the corrupt politicians finally serving their sentences
or the homeless woman finally getting a fresh slice of bread.

For the aborted children giving meaning to life,
or the orphans succeeding despite hardship and strife.

For music
for pain
for love
for art.
For the swing in my hips
when the strobe lights flash and the
music vibrates my ribcage.

For the conversations that last all night
or the eye contact with a stranger that lingers for weeks.

For discoveries revealing us to be insects
to Gods,
or the majestic Cathedrals
(Its own type of gift.)

For humanity’s love
(which needs explaining)
and the fault lines of the heart
causing families to slip between tectonic plates.

For tragedy
for birth
for death
for utter chaos:
reminding us that we’re riders of this rock
with fists plunged deep into moist soul
we cultivate, we reap, we straddle
riding this beast till all is eventually

Read More: Everyone Should Read This Incredibly Powerful Poem A Man Wrote To His Transgender Sister

Read More: “Peace”:A Powerful Poem About Police Violence

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

“Peace”: You Have To Read This Powerful Poem About Police Violence

By Courtney Anderson

They take our lives every day.

Shoot us in the back.

In front of family,


and strangers.

They leave us in the streets.

And Cuff our dead bodies.


They lie about us.

Drag our names,


and lives

through the mud.

We deserve our deaths, they say.

We killed ourselves.

We always kill ourselves, they say.


Our lives are played on social media.

And so are our deaths.


And our killers go free.





And then

They ask for our



Peace! Peace! Be Peaceful! Have Peace!

Be peaceful as we slaughter you!

Stand still as we shoot.

Paint our streets with your Blood.

And above all, have Peace!


There is no peace.

There is no peace.

There is no peace.

There will be no peace.

As long as they live,

and we die,

There will be No Peace.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Annette Bernhardt/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Everyone Should Read This Incredibly Powerful Poem A Man Wrote To His Transgender Sister

A poem by Asia Samson

“Pink Crayons”

Originally performed at Lip Service Stories on May 9, 2015 in Coral Gables, FL.

Trust us, you will want to read to the end.


One early Christmas morning, in front of my entire family,

my baby brother

propped himself up on his own two feet

rose from his pile of new baby boy toys and

waddled clear across the room,

eyes locked at the pink Barbie doll my sister was unwrapping


We started laughing

My uncles made jokes

But when he snatched that Barbie doll from my sister and refused to let go

my father came swooping in with my new football

hoping it would distract him long enough for my uncles to

pry that Barbie from his hands

But my baby brother just

Took that football

Threw it with every intent to shatter the gender mold he has yet to understand

And we all watched as it rocketed just a few inches shy of

hitting my grandmother square in her face. To this day,

I have never seen an old Asian woman duck that fast


My parents said it was just a phase that would pass

My brother liking dolls. Or perhaps,

he just liked anything that’s pink

And there’s nothing wrong with liking pink

It’s just a color

It means nothing

Even the sky prefers pink before it turns blue and

one day my brother will too…after all,


We were all children once

We were all a box of crayons

Wanting free reign to let loose

And that was okay

At least until the day our parents felt it was time to grow up

When they could no longer see our imaginations for the scribbles they were

When they felt they needed to teach us that this world is a coloring book and

we need to stay inside the lines of whatever perfect picture

someone else deemed appropriate to draw out


So when it came to raising my brother, my parents became devout

Scolded him for skipping around the house

Force fed Tonka Trucks like vegetables

Snatched the pink crayon from his fingers and replaced it with blue

For the record, my parents were never cruel

They just wanted him to color a certain way but


By his 5th birthday

He still refused to put the dolls away

In fact, he was drawing them

Barbies wearing all the dresses he imagined out loud

colored each one with all the pink crayons left over after he

threw all the other colors out


By his 8th

my parents finally admitted it was clearly not a phase the day

my mother stopped him just seconds before he tried applying her makeup to his face


By his 16th

He was hiding women’s dresses in the closet behind his clothes


But on the day he turned 18 years old

My baby brother

Reached his hand to the back of that closet

Pulled out one of those dresses and said he was no longer going to hide

Swiped the first streak of makeup across his eyes

Looked into the mirror and told himself

I…am free


And my mother worries

That one day

My baby brother (I mean, sister) will be taunted by an angry village

Who will hold pitchforks the shape of picket signs

Who will want to

Hurl bibles hoping it may knock some sense into her

Douse her with Holy Water to try and wash the makeup clear off her face for good


And my mother worries

That a war has been brewing full of the self-righteous

Hell bent on making sure people like my sister will lose

Or worse

That a drunken man will whistle at her beauty

then beat her lifeless when he finds out her truth

Carla (L) and her brother Asia Samson, a poet.

I asked him (her) if she ever gets afraid

She said she’s more afraid of who she would become if she denied what she felt in her heart

She said if she had a choice

She would have tapped God on the shoulder the moment He started to piece her together and say,

Hey, I think you’re using the wrong parts.


But she can’t

Because God creates what he creates

She said

If I was created as a boy with a longing to be a girl at an age 

when I was still too young to comprehend the choice I was about to make,

Then I have to believe God makes no mistakes

And if God is the loving God you all say He is, 

Then I have to believe He would never create someone He only intended to hate


The poet in me wants to tell her she’s right

My left wing says hand her an ax and we’ll both ride courageously into the night

Chopping down every single picket sign we see in sight


But this is not a transgender pride poem

I’m not here to trivialize a struggle

I’m not trying to wage a revolution

I’m not even sure what fight this is


Because when it comes to all this

There’s a lot I don’t know

It’s a world I know nothing about

And to be honest, dear sister,

I’m almost afraid to find out


What if I’m not as open-minded as I’d like to claim?

What if I can’t help but cringe when I call you by your new name?

What if I can’t distinguish the woman you’ve become from the young boy we still think you are?


But you

And your caring heart

Would never force us into such things

Would never bring the war inside our front door


And it’s because of that

I need

To be the one to step out dressed in your courage

To meet you where you might need me the most


Because even if there’s so much I still don’t know

All I need to know is my only job is to love you

And if the only fight you’ll ever ask of me

Is the fight within myself to not confuse him with her or he with she

Then believe me

I’ll fight to correct myself every single time

But just know if the turbulent time comes

when that’s no longer enough

when the fight wants to force you to run and hide

Then believe me, Carla

I’ll be by your side

Scribbling love with a pink crayon

All over their picket signs

Asia Samson is a spoken word poet. You can learn more about him by visiting his website: www.TheAsiaProject.com

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This story originally was published in RiseMiamiNews on May 16, 2015.

Cover Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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