GUEST POST TUESDAYS: Awake & Apart
Zion Rogers is a 13 year old 8th grade student that attends Milwaukee College Prep - 36th Street Campus. She is the founder of a student cultural educational organization known as the NorthStar Action and Culture Committee. Zion loves to study all things that uplift black people. She is a follower of the teachings of Sister Souljah and bell hooks, and is a huge fan of Keyshia Cole.
From as early as I can remember, there has always seemed to be one prominent difference that separated me from my peers. As a black child amongst other black youth, I have grown in my level of social consciousness and am often more aware of certain racial and cultural dynamics and issues. Whether it is through popular culture, social media, or history class, I have always been able to “spot” micro-aggressions and see through the many historical misconceptions that are often overlooked by my fellow adolescents, as well as many adults. Sandra Bland, Charlottesville, Willie Lynch “syndrome,” Colin Kapernick, maroon communities, and so called “Black Identity Extremists”- these and other similar topics are constantly a part of my daily thoughts, but not the type of stuff that many of my friends and teachers necessarily are comfortable dealing with on a daily basis.
One of the most exhausting, annoying responses I receive from my peers after expressing my “racially- charged” views on matters of importance is, “It’s never that serious.” Depending on the crowd (which sometimes includes my classroom teachers, I have always felt the need to either “muzzle” some of my thoughts, or to “tailor” what I say to “pacify” others and make them comfortable. Although it can be frustrating when very few individuals understand the importance of these issues to me, this serves as a blatant reminder as to why I take these these issues seriously and can never allow myself to be silenced because of peer pressure and the attitudes of educators who might not understand my passion.
The scriptures quote that, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” I believe that one of my purposes in life is to educate my people, particularly black youth and awaken their consciousness on those same issues that are as they say, “not that serious.” I have made a vow to God, my ancestors, and my family that because of my love for my people, I refuse to let anyone kill my vibe.