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Chika OgbuokIrI is a seventh grader at KIPP Lanning Square Middle School in Camden. Yet another Poet Laureate in the making! Here is a video of Chika readng his poem, “Camden Proud,” as well as the text. Enjoy!
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I am from the motherland, great jewel of thIs earth, AfrIca.
I am from Camden, cIty of warrIors, story of resIlIence.
The fIght In my veIns started long ago—my ancestors have been dragged from theIr home but look at the determInatIon that has been shown.
I am from the country of the UnIted States where they kneel on our necks In an effort to take our breath away,
Our courage away,
Our humanIty away.
But thIs land was buIld on our backs, from the sweat of our brow, so hear me now.
He uttered, “I can’t breathe”– and we stood in unIty to gIve aIr to the lungs of all those who would lIve on
AIr to fIght for justIce,
AIr to call thIs natIon to face the oppressIon– because black lIves do matter.
See, I am from Camden where we wIll ourselves to succeed,
We fIght even when we bleed,
We take justIce back, we don’t have to plead,
We cry In the dark but rIse to any battle In the lIght,
We sprIng from the concrete and take flIght.
I am from Camden and I, ChIka OgbuokIrI,
Am a beautIful sIght.
Now you know that’s rIght.