Ethan Ovbiagele is a 16 year old High School Junior in San Francisco. He loves writing poetry, doing animation coding, and practicing taekwondo in his spare time.


Trigger Warning

One step out, not sidestep, from West Africa,
One firm stride, with full slide, into America.
New World born, but not to the New Age sworn,
My ancestral culture, I proudly adorn.
My parents nurtured our source of origin,
Routinely exposing me to our closest kin.
Raising me to love Fufu and Egusi soup,
Ensuring a full close of the identity loop.

Taught early to hold my head high,
Told to never let folks to see me sigh.
Tutored in the ways of the world,
Trained to avoid things being hurled.
Educated to always be respectful,
Enlightened to not give others an earful.
Encouraged to be steadfast and resilient,
Edified with traits to be spiritually reverent.

With a strong sense of self, I joined the institution,
Looking to encounter faith, integrity, and compassion.
Anticipating behaviors for the greater glory of God.
Especially with such a large and diverse student bod.
However, I quickly realized that there were lines,
Most staying within their racial or ethnic confines.
So, I opted to take the advice of when in Rome,
And sought out the community, deemed my apparent home.

As almost imperceptible African drums play in my ear,
Honed from Afrobeat tunes played by my mother from year to year,
I make my way to my designated coterie,
Envisaging an atmosphere of great camaraderie.
To my surprise, there too was tremendous sunder,
Particularly for those viewed to be from yonder.
Ancestral divisions and skin color distinctions,
Academic derisions and culture restrictions.

Witnessing a puzzle, I must remove my muzzle.
Is this pattern more of the rule, for a high school?
Is this issue a priority, for the racial minority?
Is this situation cemented, for the underrepresented?
It is said that pieces of a puzzle come together, when you least expect it,
To wit, is benign neglect, the best habit, to knit the split?
Or are we paving the way, for society to continually run astray?
For me, I will keep my hopes high for my favorite School in the Bay.

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