Student Work

From a SpeakTogether virtual workshop, Talent Unlimited High School, Spring 2020

This poem was composed during a six-week session conducted by author and spoken word artist Sheri Booker, who worked with a class of 10th-grade students to develop their voices. This workshop took place during a global pandemic, a national lockdown, and uprisings across the country to end police brutality and structural racism. Read more about the works in this collection, which are artifacts of this period and a true testament to the vision, creativity, and resilience of these students.

Listen to a recording of the following poem above. 

Final Poem

by Branavan Rivera

For the history of mankind there have only been two genders until recently.
People have now been expanding their identities with new cultural possibilities.
There are infinite choices for it is what makes us human.
Our broken society’s social constructs are forcing biological religion to be disproven.

Now people will do so much to protect their identity,
And their right to identify even though not validated scientifically.
Look me in the eye, I am the giraffe that rides the winds of wrath across the blackened sky.

A lot of people disagree with this because some think this thing is very weird,
And it is being forced on people and their belief systems are no longer being revered.
There have been many debates but there is still no definitive answer to this question since the beginning of our decade.

But now we all wear masks and wearing masks’ not fun, covid-19 sucks,
I like the summer,
Heat is very good but this is a bummer,
Genders blend and we survive.
Everyone is hiding behind the N-95.

Branavan Rivera was a sophomore at Talented Unlimited High School in NYC at the time of this recording.

You can navigate their individual poems and listen to recordings of them reciting their stellar works below.