Sabrina DuQuesnay

I will remember those who fought for integrated schools in a segregated nation.
Sabrina is a senior at Brooklyn College Academy.

Sabrina is a senior at Brooklyn College Academy.

I will remember those who fought for racially integrated schools in a segregated nation,

Those who, rather than stand on the sidelines, took active participation

Children are robbed of their opportunity to succeed lacking the tools,

Because they live in an area which forces them to go to low-achieving schools.

In my old middle school, 8% of students met standards on the state math test, that's 8%, imagine the number of those who didn’t pass yet.

I’m lucky now to go to a high school that prepares me, yet what about the rest, what about treating them fairly?

My zoned high school 18K635, has a 15% College and career readiness rate, may I ask why?

Prominent Gang affiliations coloring our hallways with shades of red and blue, the irony, that's apart of the cops light color too

Were not all too different, yet not exactly the same, but should our socioeconomic difference be justified as blame, that students miss the opportunity for a quality education, based solely on the fact that they reside at a particular location

We must not be acquiescent, ready to accept the time for change is gone.
Should not our schools reflect the diversity which we as a city pride ourselves upon?

We must question: What do well-funded schools have, that underfunded schools don’t, Better yet, what can well-off students do that underprivileged students won’t?

In this sense, we all have equal capabilities, yet it’s educational inequity that limits these opportunities.

New York has one of the most segregated school systems, housing projects and economic backgrounds determining the rate of success, the school funds are unequally spread, leading to unequal resource access  

James Coleman, former president of the American Sociological Association, in 1966 published a report outlining a study of school performance and race relations. The study found that minority students performed better in racially integrated schools, that students had increased academic preparation, with access to these tools.

I remember in middle school not being able to bring textbooks home, weird tasting water ever present at the fountains. Students prosper on the other side of this economic divide, yet we are rendered inert at the end of this mountain.

Young elementary school students lack textbooks in phonology, then are expected to ace the grammar section of the SAT

Seemingly drain-like, the money and resources flow to one side, as so with this delicate sea of equality, does one see a change in tide.

No afterschool programs increasing potential disruptive behavior. We are the change we seek, yet our apparent success is rooted in failure.

They say that it's residential income segregation—the separation of residents by income and the isolation. The neighborhoods are split, racially segregated, access to better schools determined by location.

Since racially and economically segregated housing leads to racially and economically segregated neighborhood schools,  we can increase integration through policies that lead to more integrated neighborhoods.

It’s not just me, but the children we raise, it’s more than the past that we are fighting to erase.

Lest we forget that it's the past that we must remember to face, in times of adversity, we forget that it's commonplace to ignore the problems, ignore the fact that kids need stimulation, recreational programs, resources to aid in their communication.

We have a duty not only to ourselves, but to the future generation, to help the young minds stand steady on a solid foundation, first by taking active roles in our communities instead of supporting mere narrations, and when change is stagnant, we organize demonstrations. To teach the kids that we are more than our past mistakes, that under pressure we’ll persevere because we are well aware of the stakes.

That despite the obstacles, despite the politics and more, we are willing to fight this inequitable war, that the right to a proper education should be granted to all, because united we stand but divided we fall.

Let us be remembered, not for lack of contribution, but as men and women of a society that when given problems, found plausible solutions. Let us not be remembered as dwellers of the past, but as present and future thinkers whose legacy will forever last.

I will remember those who fought for integrated schools in a segregated nation.

Those who, rather than stand on the sidelines, took active participation.

Those who are willing to fight for students to go to quality schools regardless of learning mode.

Those who understand that obtaining an education should not be determined by performance, race, tax bracket, or zip code.

I will remember those who will fight to ensure they are well informed.

Those who are willing to help change the system that we undeniably formed.

Taiwo Fayemi

I am years of substitute teachers.
A shower of handouts and silence.
Untapped motivation.
Crumbling anticipation.
Taiwo is a senior at the Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists in the South Bronx.

Taiwo is a senior at the Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists in the South Bronx.

I

I am

I am a young woman

Rooted in the Bronx

And fertilized in poor education

The borough of the underestimated

And too many believers

Limbo bar set so low

Not enough high end achievers.

 

I

I am

I am a 99 cent composition notebook

Full of A equals pi r squared

Maybe a few cupid’s arrows on each page

Because my attention span

Is no more than five minutes

And I can’t help but think

That we are in it, but not meant to win it.

 

I

I am

I am Poverty

Draped in reused desks and chalkboards

Sprinkled with a little knowledge here and there

And drenched with complaints of the unsatisfied

This system thinks they're doing us a favor instead

And I know it’s not wrong to ask why

My world has more erasers than lead.

 

I

I am

I am Privilege

Showered in tenured teachers

And drenched in private tutors

Come and ship those over to my block

And see how the other half lives

Because I wonder why we lack the things

We need most. What gives?

 

I

I am

I am years of substitute teachers

A shower of handouts and silence

Untapped motivation

Crumbling anticipation

Half smiles and falsified intimidation

How can you question my morals and codes

And not question my limitations?

 

I

I am

“I am a TNT stick  lit from both ends”

And I will explode if my descendants

Are incubated in the dry soil I magically sprung out of

Because we deserve more than what’s given

Yes, I am a rose that grew from concrete

But we all don’t have that way of livin’.

 

I

I am

I am Once Upon A Time

Lost in the pages of your books

Because I seem to only be that “forgotten chapter”

And the words I say clearly have a hard time sending

My voice through to the suits and blazers

And I ask: When do we get our happy ending?

 

I

I am

I am The System

Grazing by the public schools

Presetting your footprints in the sand

Let me segregate based on status

Because I have that power and more

But why is it that twice my efforts to be just as equal

Still linger? Flopping on crowded floors.



 

I

I am

I am a vulture

Ravenous for knowledge but

Left with the bones and scraps

Of the educational feast

Forced to fly where the wind goes

Trust me. There is more potential in us

Than you may ever think to know.

 

I

I am

I am

I am

I am many things

Crafted by the astute and the realistic

I may be forced to swim in a world flooded with numbers

But I am not a statistic.