I like to write, but I don't really write poetry. I just write stories.
- Keyandre Thompson
11-year-old Keyandre Thompson is a natural poet, he just didn’t realize it at first. And when his mother encouraged him to perform some of his work in front of an audience at Lake Valley Camp, he wasn’t on board right away.
“At first I was nervous, so I told my mom ‘no.’ But then I thought about it, and I was like ‘well, it might be fun.'”
He eventually came around, and today he is sharpening his poetry skills in one of the camp’s programs called Rise Up! It’s a social justice-focused day camp, and he has been working on this original piece for weeks.
Just because we’re black, doesn’t mean we aren’t strong. We are powerful, not in strength, but in our words. We can do anything if we try, if we believe God is with us always. Many leaders before us proved we are powerful. Don’t let people who don’t believe in us make us feel differently. We didn’t use violence to get our way. We try to communicate and prove ourselves. Do we act as if we’re better? No. We try our best to do better.
Dan Schiller is the executive director of Lake Valley Camp, and says spoken word is just one part of its youth-empowering programming.
“One our beliefs is that everyone has the power to change their world,” Schiller said. “In our spoken word programming we give them the opportunity voice their thoughts about the community, about the community struggles, about their personal struggles.”
“It’s open, and we want to give them an opportunity and a platform to be heard,” he added.
Click the podcast player to hear Keyondre read his work and to hear his thoughts on the future of race relations in America.
And follow this link to hear more about Lake Valley Camp’s scholarship-based programming, including traditional camping and day camp experiences for kids from underserved neighborhoods.