Youth Speak Out on Personal Struggles

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Tompkins Weekly 3-9-15

By Rev. Olivia Armstrong

This is a continuation of a story (Tompkins Weekly, Feb. 9) from youth and children. This article talks about bi-racial youth and children, and about both internal and external turmoil because of the first acknowledgement of skin color.

My purpose is to give these brave and courageous youth a public voice and exposure of an important social problem. Anthony S., 17, a New Roots Charter School student, states “I have always struggled. But my struggle is not as broadcasted as many other struggles of the world. It is a struggle only felt within for those whom it applies. A struggle that shouldn’t even be a struggle. I am talking about my race.”

Wow! My project is called Youth Voices/Kids Heard. As the Rainbow Healing Center CEO, I want to give youth a public voice (Youth Voices/Kids Heard) and expression (Moonlighter Press Magazine) in an adult forum in order to Save Our Youth/Children Lives.

“My name is Kyerria H. (age 11) from Endicott, NY. My mother is white and my father is black. I am both … but, really I don’t consider myself either. I went to all kinds of different public schools with kids from all races. They teased and taunted me, at first. I didn’t think much of it … then after a while I got sick and tired of being teased and taunted because I was bi-racial. I started sticking up for myself by fighting. I was tired of being teased and bullied. At eleven years of age my fighting lead me to be put in a Alternative School, not in Tompkins County, even though, I’m a foster care child, still having a relationship with my mom and not my dad. Nowadays, kids think fighting is the answer to solve all problems. But, it’s not the answer … people always say racial names and slurs. It’s not the greatest feeling when your being called mean names or nasty racial names. I was inspired to write after reading Anthony S. story. I was able to understand what he went through. I’m hoping to help kids my age to tell there story, it helps.”

I will end this segment with a poem by Razeah Flanigan, 14, of the New Roots Charter School, who went through his challenges of being a bi-racial youth. It’s titled “Trying To Fit In and feeling nowhere to Fit.”


We are shifting from tension to attention…from uptighness to uprightness…from fragility to agility…from holding on to being whole…from speed to freed

We are shifting from war to warmth … from slaughter to laughter … from killing to chilling … from tanks to thanks … from bombs to balms … from attacking to attracting … from armored to amorous … from enmity to equity

We are shifting from greedy to greening…from coal to soul (leaving oil in the soil…taking a pass on gas) from consuming to conserving … from corporations to cooperation from “make it fast” to “make it last”

We are shifting from supremacy to solidarity…from exploitation to exaltation…from mass incarceration to collective liberation…from racial segregation to united rainbow nation! WE


Rev. Olivia Armstrong is CEO of the Rainbow Healing Center of America in Jacksonville.


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