Write That I

My name is Justice Serenity English

When you - one day - tell my story

Write that I was born to do more than survive - but to thrive

That my roots originated in Africa, branched into America

And sprouted up in the nutty north

From gritty soil steeped in poverty and struggle


Write that I experienced racism that cut deeply into my soul and self-esteem

That I’ve been a victim of racial profiling

And a witness to gun violence, Domestic Violence and bullying

Write that I’ve been homeless, penniless and desperately hopeless

That - even as a teenager - I knew what it felt like

to work from the early morning to late into the night

Running on fumes of energy

So I could help feed my brothers and sisters


Tell them that I went to Roosevelt High School

Even after I was pushed out of my own neighborhood

I still traveled for hours each day on the bus and the max

To arrive at a place where I would learn my own value

From teachers who saw things in me when I didn’t even see them in myself

Teachers who loved me, who cared about me

Teachers who encouraged me to use my voice for positive change

And tap into my passion for social justice to become an activist


When you talk about my grooming at Roosevelt

Tell them - No!

There is not just one dominant race

Not just one Gender or sexuality or one perfect person

But a diversity of mixed breeds

Showing you an example of how society should be

And that UNITY is possible

UNITY is powerful

UNITY is essential


Tell them that instead of just letting go

I invested my time in a place that taught me knowledge

And the belief in myself to achieve more than what others thought I could

  - and go further than the circumstances where I came from said I would ever reach

Say that I had the self-confidence to correct my interrupted story

That I breathed in the fumes of possibility and I now represent black excellence

Say that because others have helped me

I saw an advantage to reaching back and helping others coming behind me

To find their path to being successful – in spite of what naysayers might think


Write that even though I was young in years

I recognized that there are more prisons than there are schools

More drug addicts than there are criminals

More high-rise apartments than there are homeless people

And higher rates of sex trafficking than there are teen moms

Say that I saw hope beyond the hysteria

And saviors living amongst those who are suffering


When you write my story

Say that I am talkative but wise

That I am a leader AND a social justice activist

Tell them that I don’t give upy - that I am resilient

I have found my voice, and I am not afraid to make it heard


Say that I am not in prison because I have received opportunities

I pursued my purpose - by choice – despite

circumstances that would tell you otherwise

Like the greatest - Muhammad Ali - said:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”


At Roosevelt, I learned how to eat impossible for breakfast

To dare to dream, to imagine my potential

And today, I am the one who wears the crown

And has been chosen to own the Queen's throne

So, yes, tell my story. Write my truths.

And more importantly, learn my name.

I am “Justice” - the law, righteousness, integrity

Middle name “Serenity”- a mind at peace, stillness, calm

Last name English – one of the most spoken languages in the world

See me. Notice me.


That I. Have. Arrived.




This poem is about: 
My family
My community


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