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The pain in your voice
The rise of your fame
The rhythm of your heart
The generation of people you birth

Big, Pac, Jay, Run, Common, Snoop,
Lauryn Hill.

The problems you have created
The tension you have caused
The bodies you have buried
The women you have hurt
The use of the word ———-
To degrade the roots of a woman.

The transformation you have created
Covering this culture
Introducing the luxury of the high life
The devil in your flesh
Killing yourself
From peer pressure, hurt, and pain

The spotlight is on you
The mic is in front of you
People are watching you,
But what happened to you?

—Kierra Jones-Fogle 

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The Road Untravelled

road

by Cache Catlett

When I was fourteen, I created this poem about my brother and how his bad behavior influenced my life for the good:

My brother, even though we have the same mother
it seems like you’re from another.
We’re so much alike but yet we are different.
What can I say, we’re just siblings.
Every time you walk out the door I’m afraid I won’t see you anymore.
You’re at the wrong place at the wrong time, getting caught up not knowing the last thing on your mind.
The streets have a grab on you and won’t let you go, but whatever happens just know I love you, Bro.

At some point in our youth, we come to a fork in the road. We have the option to either travel “right” down the road of success, or merge left onto the highway of hell. Unfortunately, the route my older brother chose was a winding one, full of poor choices and negative behaviors. His decision opened my eyes and made me realize that his was not a path I wanted to follow. My brother’s chaotic lifestyle motivated me to get my education, obtain honor roll-grades and appreciate the things that I have. I want to make our mother proud.

••••••••••••
My family was tremendously affected by my brother’s rebellious behavior.
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As the two middle siblings of four, m brother and I have always been close. Our bond has been unbreakable for as long as I can remember. We look just alike. I always thought of my brother as my twin; he’s a boy version of me. His style, silliness, and protectiveness of me made us close.

Being his only younger sister by one year made him especially protective of me. As we grew up, he always warned me not to pursue the life he was living. He would constantly skip school, get suspended or fight with his peers.

His advice to me was to remain focused, not get sidetracked by the “fellahs” and never to succumb to peer pressure. He would always tell me, “I’m so proud of you, Shay-Shay; I wish I would’ve followed your footsteps.”

We are different in many ways, but our similarities help maintain our close relationship. We never judge each other.

My family was tremendously affected by my brother’s rebellious behavior. Over the years he has been repeatedly incarcerated, leaving our family numerous times. My mother’s constant concern and worry about him eventually developed into severe depression. The most unbearable moments for me were watching my mother sob for her son right before my eyes. After witnessing the pain he caused her, I made a silent promise to never disappoint my mother.

My brother’s actions inspired me follow my own path. I decided to stay focused, work extremely hard, not succumb to my peers’ negative influences and be the first in my family to obtain a degree. I’m passionate about remaining ambitious and doing whatever it takes to keep a beautiful smile on my mother’s face.

I miss my brother. Although it hurts when he’s not home for special occasions and family events, I sleep better at night knowing that he is incarcerated and alive rather than walking the streets of Philadelphia, where at any moment I could lose him. Still, his safety has come at a terrible price, the price of his freedom. It may seem odd, but my brother has inspired me to follow my dreams.

Cache Catlett is a senior at Parkway Northwest High School.

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Mighty Post showcases writing from MW students. We also publish writing from Philadelphia students at large. Email us at mightypost@mightywriters.org.

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redrobotc63

The Homework Robot

It all started after school at home. As usual, I get my homework incorrect when it comes to math, history and science. I don’t ask my parents for help because I want to prove that I can be smarter than my sisters. So instead I created the Homework Robot. It was made with history textbooks and calculators. And it would need the Internet. I would have a remote turn on and off dial. I named the robot Brainy-bot. He would have to be secret so no one would steal him.

On Monday, I woke up for school already late. “Brainy-bot, wake up,” I yelled. “Please put this homework in your tummy!”

He yawned, grabbed the homework and put it in. By the time I got to school, Brainy-bot had finished my homework. He had used his robot ears to fly to school. When he arrived, he turned into a normal person so he could blend in. In class, I saw him through the window and asked my teacher if I could go to the bathroom. I walked out the door and met him in the hallway. He gave me my homework and I walked back into the classroom.

•••••••••••

“Kayla, we’re so proud of your straight A’s we’re taking you to Red Lobster.”

••••••••••••

While  handing in the homework, my teacher announced there’d be an English project due tomorrow. A four-page play, but if you make it five you get extra credit. When I got home, my robot already knew about the project. He asked me some questions about what I wanted the play to be about. When I started getting bored, he decided to give me a snack. I asked for super cheesy mozzarella sticks. Very tasty. While I was eating, my robot finished the assignment.

Soon it was time for our report card conferences. My parents were beyond shocked when they saw that I got all A’s. When they came home they came straight to my room. “Kayla,” my dad said, “we are so proud of you for your straight A’s, we’re going to take you to Red Lobster.” My mom was even more excited. “We want you to go on Jeopardy!” she said. Wow. I agreed, but asked if I could have pizza instead of Red Lobster. “Whatever you say” said my mom.

Soon as they left, I said, “Research ‘Jeopardy’, Brainy- bot!” His red antenna wiggled, telling me that he had found information. “Jeopardy has a ‘Kids Week,'” said Brainy-bot. It was beginning to be too much. I began to sob. “Don’t cry, Kayla. I have a plan,” said Brainy-bot. He told me that he could become me for Jeopardy. Naturally, I loved the plan.

My robot went on Jeopardy looking just like me. “The topics are World History, Movies by Disney, Music Lyrics, and Black,” said the host. “I’ll choose $1,000 in Movies by Disney,” said Brainy-bot. “Which movie has Disney’s first black princess?” asked the host. “What is The Princess and the Frog?” asked Brainy-bot. “That’s correct” said the host.Funny, the real me knew that answer, too.

As rounds went by, Brainy-bot kept winning. Suddenly, I was feeling bad that Brainy-bot was pretending to be me and doing all the work. I did the only thing I could do. “Everyone, I have something to say,” I said, surprising even myself. “I made someone else be on Jeopardy for me,” I said. “Reveal yourself, Brainy-bot” I commanded.

Brainy-bot turned back into a robot. The audience gasped.

“I would like to pay $50 for the robot,” said a man in the audience. “I’ll pay $10,000!” shouted the host.

My parents were shocked by the whole scene, as you might guess. But they were happy that I told the truth and happy for the $10,000. I was happy for the pizza.

—Kayla Brown

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nerds.jpgWe’re All Just Nerds

A Mighty mother and daughter respond to NERDS: The Musical, performed by the Philadelphia Theater Company.

From the Desk of Chynell Precise, Mighty mother

What an unbelievable performance. NERDS was truly amazing. During the performance, I realized that I was just born when the rivalry between Gates and Jobs began. Who knew 30 years ago that four very bright young men (Jobs, Gates, and their nerd buddies) had ideas that were going to sweep the nation? Sitting with great anticipation during the 1984 Worldwide Computer Convention scene, I was reminded of myself as a 4th grader in my computer class, trying to figure out how to move that triangle (turtle) from point A to point B.

I came to find out it was Steve Jobs, the college dropout, who had everything to do with it. I’d never before thought that an idea that started in a garage could make you a billionaire 30 years later, but thinking differently gave Steve Jobs that opportunity.

The battle between Gates and Jobs definitely took all of us to a whole new world. They created technology that plays a vital role in society today.  We can’t live without our laptops, cell phones, iPads, iPods or Zunes. If we leave our iPad or iPhone in the house, we run back inside to get them before going off to work or school, even risking lateness. Thanks Jobs. At work, the computer wallpaper screen changes at least twice a day. Thanks Gates.

I enjoyed this phenomenal show and I would sit through it over and over again.  It showed how several ideas persisted and swept across the nation.  It also showed that doing whatever it takes to get on top and staying on top is key in our world. Regardless of your situation, you need to stay focused, work hard and think differently than everyone else.

From the Desk of Christian Precise, Mighty ninth grader

Hamsters and condescending chords of doom and the Microsoft Virus only make up a sliver of “NERDS: The Musical.” It grabbed my attention solely by its plot: the lives and rivalry of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. In the very first scene, I knew this was going to be a musical to remember.

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I would highly recommend this musical to any fan of Apple, Windows, shady jokes

or the clumsy nerds we all know as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

••••••••••••

I would highly recommend this musical to any fan of Apple, Windows, shady jokes, or the clumsy nerds that we all know as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

Although Steve Wozniak (Benny Elledge) may not have actually won a pet hamster in his first computer competition with Jobs, his character added a light humor to the musical.  Breaking down the fourth wall made us all laugh, too. At one point, Bill Gates offered the cast a briefcase full of cash and dubbed it the end of the musical. In response, Steve Jobs stopped the curtain from descending.

The best musical number from Jobs was “Revolution Starts with One,” and from Gates, “A Step Ahead.” Both anticipate taking over the technology industry, and vow to destroy the other’s company.

A few of my favorite scenes included the musical number in the IBM offices, the Windows Rap after Bill Gates came to power (and wiped Apple off the face of the Earth, he thought), and the courtroom scene. In that climax scene, Gates and Jobs competed in the ultimate rap battle to see who would emerge victorious.

I would highly recommend this musical to any fan of Apple, Windows, shady jokes, or the clumsy nerds that we all know as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. At the end, someone in the audience was teased by a cast member for being a nerd. I think most of us were. It was a five-star performance

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mpost-logo-headerPhoto: Elaine Johnson

Why I Write
To make sense of my thoughts—
you know, those lucid 3 a.m. thoughts.
To create a new world,
a world where I can be a woman warrior.
To find myself in the words,
to create a better me.

To open up my mind,
to open up their minds.
To start a revolution,
to make the masses listen.
To give myself a voice,
to give voice to those that do not have one.
To make the rest listen.

—Written by Mighty 10th grader Alesha & Mighty instructor Amy Lafty, 2011.

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Jimmy Fallon, Batman and Me


The first time I saw Jimmy Fallon, I could not hold my laughter. I love to watch him do the “Thank You Notes” segment. The best things he does are sketches and impressions like the one he did of Neil Young.

Jimmy Fallon is one of the best comedians I have ever seen. He has the Roots with him and Higgins as his side comedian. I watch at least every Friday at 12:30AM. Because his show is so entertaining I even watch him on YouTube. If I could I would go to New York just to see his show. Higgins pulls extremely funny jokes and that makes the show twice as good. The work of the drumroll by the Roots gives his show a good feel.

I admire Jimmy Fallon because we have a lot in common, like we’re both funny. When I watch, I pay attention to his jokes, impressions, facial expressions, and the way he speaks. One day I hope to take over Late Night and replace him.

Batman is the second person I admire. He is a superhero without the “super.” He doesn’t have super powers, and that’s why I don’t think of him as a superhero. He wears a nice black shining suit with many gadgets and that’s how he beats the villains. He saves people and that makes him a hero. Another reason is that he’s realistic, so a lot of people could be Batman. It’s possible to be Batman while it’s impossible to be Superman.

Batman and I have certain things in common, like we both don’t have super powers such as being fast, strong, or extremely smart, but Batman uses gadgets and I use my mind, and that way we both get by.

—Ghazan, Mighty Writer and 8th grader, 2013_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I Am a Muslim Female Athlete

Growing up with two older brothers, I just thought it was a boy’s obligation to play a sport because that’s what you always see on television.

As I entered high school, I started to wonder why I never played a sport. At the same time, I was growing and learning more about Islam, my religion, the importance of establlishing the salaah prayer on time and being more modest.

I wanted to try volleyball, but I chose not to participate because tryouts and practices were held in the late summer during Ramadan, and I wanted to stay focused and avoid distractions that took me away from the main purpose of fasting.

I wanted to get as many blessings as I could, and do as many good deeds as possible, and at the same time, learn some Qu’ran so I could benefit throughout the month. Plus, my energy would have needed to be at an all time high in order to spike a ball or run around a court. With fasting, my energy would basically have been at a negative six. So volleyball was out of the question.

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“Tryouts and practices were held during Ramadan

and I wanted to stay focused and avoid distractions.”

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(Don’t get me wrong, I realize that there are Muslims who are still able to compete through Ramadan. But, not me. To them I say, Masha’Allah – the Arabic word showing appreciation whether it’s good or bad.)

My friend then told me that I should check out an upcoming marathon-training program called Students Run. I liked the sound of it. I figured even though it wasn’t as mainstream as basketball, or lacrosse or soccer, it would still provide me with the feeling that I was a part of a team.

I was also excited to join the team to represent how Muslims can participate in sports. I found that there were not many Muslim athletes at my school. Maybe that’s because Muslims at my school had not seen many other Muslims playing a sport. Or maybe it’s because of the challenge of planning out schedules to make practices and still pray on time. Or perhaps it’s because of the difficulty in making the uniform modest and at the same time still fit the regulations of the sport. Whatever the reasons, I felt proud to represent how Muslim women can participate.

I remember watching the Olympics in 2012 and noticing Muslims competing in hijabs. In 2012, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei all entered women athletes in the Olympic games for the first time. It was exciting for me to watch because it broadcast a portrayal of Muslims in a bright and positive light.

Now, I have come to look up to female Muslim Olympians like Ruqaya Al-Ghasra, Sarah Attar, Tahmina Kohistani, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Khadija Safari and Kulsoom Abdullah. All of these women represent awesome Islamic role models for young girls, and they continue to inspire me to compete.

—Surayyah Tacuma, Mighty Writer and student at Girls High, 2013_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


When I Wake Up
When I wake up in the morning, I look in the mirror
I see a beautiful Black girl with nappy hair
Then and there I decide that my main goal is
to make the world see what I see
Which is, a beautiful Black girl with nappy hair

When I wake up in the morning, I look in the mirror
I see a decent dressed urban Black girl
When I go into my closet, I pick out clothes
that make the world see what I see
Which is a decent dressed urban Black girl

When I wake up in the morning, I look in the mirror
I see that vegetarian is the best way to be
When I cook I try to make the world see what I see
Which is, being a vegetarian is the best way to be

When I go to school, people always tell me
You are so white
Then and there I try to make myself see
What the world happens to see
An Oreo, supposedly

When I go to school, people always tell me
You are so weird
When I go to my room, I try to make myself see what others happen to see
A weirdo, supposedly

When I go to school, other people tell me,
You are so different
When they say this, all I can do is smile
Because that’s exactly what I see
Along with the other qualities in me: beautiful, urban, pure, creative and diverse
But most importantly, I am me.

And that’s all I can be.

—Kiarah Cannady, Mighty Writer and 2012 graduate of Central High School

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