By: Katrina N. Robinson, 2nd Place Division 3
When I was young, my sunscreen
didn’t come from a tube;
it came in the form of an amused voice
warning me to stay out of the sun,
before I got any “blacker.”
As if getting blacker
was the undesirable thing,
the wrong thing,
or even the scary thing.
Getting blacker was to be avoided at all costs.
It meant recesses spent in the shade,
and cowering in the dark corners of life.
But over the years
and in so many ways
I’ve gotten blacker.
It has little to do with my dark brown skin tone.
And it has everything to do with realizing
the beauty of blackness,
the strength of blackness,
the resilience of blackness.
Black is not a bowed head
avoiding the direct rays of the sun.
Black is an untamed brilliance
that puts the sun’s brightness to shame.
Black is not the childish teasing of the insecure
meant to tear us down.
Black is supporting our sisters and brothers
so all of us can stand tall.
Since learning these things
I’ve tried my hardest
to get blacker and blacker