By Genesis Edwards
October 10, 2016
My name is Genesis Edwards and I am 12 years old. All my life I knew I was supposed to do the right thing no matter what. If I see something I don’t think is right, I was always going to take a stand. With this mentality I think I can change the world. I always thought I was different from kids around me. Most people don’t acknowledge the issues that happen in the world today. People see problems and do nothing about them. But if we all do that, nothing will change in the world we all have to live in. But this is how I am different. I see all the issues on T.V. and everyone will see murders and crazy things and just sit there for a second or two and say “that’s terrible” and act like nothing happened and go on with their day like no one had just lost a family member and someone they care about.
But with me I have seen all the awful things happen in America for far too long. I would look on T.V. and see another black man get killed by the people who are supposed to protect our country but do nothing but harm us. We are not supposed to be afraid that we will get shot or harassed when we get pulled over just for our skin color by police officers because they can’t do their job correctly. Not only do blacks get killed like this on a daily basis, there is no justice being served! I am sick of hearing this happen every day and having to go on the internet just to see things like this keep happening.
I feel that I am the only child who can see this happening, maybe one of the few people who can see this. But one day I heard my Dad talking to my Grandpa about Colin Kaepernick not standing for the National Anthem. This had me thinking about what the words in the National Anthem meant. I realized that this whole time America isn’t about everything we make it to be. We say in the pledge of allegiance “liberty and justice for all,” but if this was true, all the families of the men getting killed by the police would have liberty and justice.
I see that everyone is mad at Kaepernick for kneeling and some say it is “disrespectful to our country and the men and women who serve in it,” but he is trying to get people talking about the tragedies that happen in America and around the world. Here is where my point that people don’t acknowledge problems happening in America and in the world comes in. People think he is an awful person, but he is just one of the people who sees we need change.
So after hearing this I felt like I had enough of just not being able to take a stand. So one day I was at school and we had to stand for the pledge. A friend of mine sat down for the pledge and my teacher told him to stand. By law he can sit, but she made him stand anyways. I wasn’t sure what my friend’s purpose was, but it gave me a good idea. I decided if I wanted to make a change and teach people the real issues going on in the world I have to get my voice heard.
So I went to class the next day as usual and sat in class. The announcement came on and the pledge started and everyone stood up, except me. The teacher is giving me a disgusting look and says, “Stand for the pledge, why aren’t you standing?” I shrug it off and I am looking around the classroom and everyone is staring while they’re standing. The teacher comes up to me and asks, “Why aren’t you standing.” I tell her, “No disrespect, but there are a lot of issues in America still and the pledge has flaws all over it.” After I tell her that she says, “It Is your choice” and walks away.
My friend afterwards says, “I didn’t want to stand for the pledge either.” The next day I do the same thing. Everyone stands up and I am still seated and after everyone sits down the teacher says, “America is great!” While she said this, she looks straight at me in a sarcastic way. Everyone told me she did this because they thought I didn’t notice, but I did. I just didn’t pay her any mind.
I knew it was okay for me to protest because I told my Dad but I didn’t get the time to tell my mom yet. My dad tells my mom and my mom calls me. She asked me questions of everything that my teacher said in class. I tell her and she says don’t pay her any mind because that’s what she wants. I took that into consideration because that is what could get me in trouble if I paid anyone attention.
My mom sent my teacher an email about the issues going on in class and still to this day there is no response. When I went back to school the teacher brought me and my friend out in the hallway and said, “I didn’t mean to offend you and if you want to sit, it is your choice.”
I felt at that moment that she was saying this so she wouldn’t lose her job. I still feel that way. The teacher stopped messing with me, but on the way I gained more support from my friends. I decided to write a rap song about this issue and I will perform the song in the talent show at my school. I will not stop my protest because my doing this isn’t hurting anyone and I feel that I am changing the world one step at a time!