In my freshman year of high school I attended Westminster School. Westminster is a private high school in Simsbury CT. I thought that going to Westminster was going to be an amazing experience, rather it was a not so amazing
experience that opened my eyes to a whole new side of life. That side was racism. I never thought that white people could be so blunt about their hate towards people of color. After a few months of dealing with the hate I decided it was time to leave. I applied to a few schools and found the better fit for me. I chose to write a poem about some feelings I had while at Westminster. As a person of color who has experienced racism from both students and teachers, I want to make sure that do not put myself in another situation like Westminster.
I have always been interested in education. I am someone who has been so blessed to be part of three different private schools from grades 4 to my senior year in high school. I have never taken for granted my opportunities. I am motivated to encourage people who do not have the same opportunities to strive to create a life they never thought they could. In my freshman year of high school I had my Quinceañera which is the coming of age celebration of a hispanic girl. I created a project out of the special occasion. In the invitation I requested that in lieu of gifts, people donate money for me to create awards for students at Weaver High School in Hartford Connecticut. I was able to create 8 Birrell awards. They consisted of a lamp, a small refrigerator, storage containers and a five hundred dollar gift card to target to buy school supplies and whatever else they needed. I really loved this experience, it made me more motivated to study how our caste system oppresses the many minority communities.
I do not feel the same
By, Liliana Birrell
They all say everyone is welcomed here.
Does everyone feel welcomed here?
I am different, I am nothing like them.
Most find beauty in the butterflies, all I can find is fear
If we thought about leaving we’d be terrified.
We don't know what obstacles we will be faced with or if we will die
We would not be safe, we would not be
able to come home, but for some that is okay.
We find each other and we make an effort to find the similarities that make us close
But not too close because that is dangerous.
They are afraid of what we can do as one
Strength, power, control and determination is
what kills them
Hate, murder, pain and fear is what makes us stronger.
Is there hate? Do I feel that hate? Do I see
you staring? I say to myself the same thing over and over again.
Yes, Yes, Yes.
In reality I wish I could say no, no, no.
But I will be free. Free from it all.
As I take one more step I feel the weight begin to lift
My body is finally able to come to the surface and I am allowed to take a breath
I say no culture, they say diverse, I see three like me
They do not understand, but I understand why.
So I drag myself out of the white milky pool wounded like a dog
I jump into the pool where I feel free, safe and welcomed
The pool of colors, the pool of life, now I am free.