‘Because everyone has a right to…’ Because-style Poems

Students read Shirley Geok-Lin Lim’s poem ‘Learning to Love America’ before they wrote their own ‘Because’ poems.

Lesson Note: Born in Malacca, Malaysia, Shirley Geok-Lin Lim was raised by her Chinese father and attended missionary schools. Although her first languages were Malay and the Hokkin dialect of Chinese, she was able to read English by the time she was six. At 10, her first poem was published in the Malacca Times; by age 11, she knew she wanted to be a poet. She earned her BA from the University of Malaya and her PhD from Brandeis University.

Lim considers herself primarily a poet, although she has also written books of short stories, criticism, a novel, and a memoir. 

Mrs. McClain, 7th Grade

because poem

by Jovani H.

because I was born on its territory

I do not wander far

because of its unique way

of telling a story

America shows how it went from

nothing to something

because of its issues brought with


because everyone has a say

in any opinion stated

because no matter how diverse

everyone shall be treated the


Because in America

by Kathleen M.

Because I had to be born here without a choice

Because we have brought our lives into America

in which we cannot fix

because people live their own ways. they have their own

because anyone has their own thoughts

because the crowds downtown sway to areas

because everyone has feelings that affect them

because I only have privacy in my own home

because no matter where I go, I don’t feel safe

because my gut tells me that I will never be safe

because there is no escape

Mrs. McClain, 8th Grade

Why America?

by Kylie B.

Because I was born here

Because my grandparents came here from Romania

from the rules

from the restriction.

Because this is a better life.

Because of the freedom

the individuality.

Because everyone has the right

to be who they are.

Because I was born here.

Because Why?

by Sara B.

Because my family was born here, I am them.

Because I am them, I have to do everything they do

Because Anything they do is ALWAYS right.

Because I have to floor our exact steps

from a baby to an adult

Because why?

Because I am everything my family ever wanted

from pre-adult till now

Because they grew up poorer than ever

Because the difference from there to here is a struggle

Because to others, there is no other to here

Because now they’re full of doubt and regret

from coming

Because my country is “bad” yet America isn’t?

Mrs. McClain, 8th Grade


by Liv H.


Because of its beautiful landscapes

Because of its space

Because of the people

Because it has raised me

Because of the discrimination

Because of the pollution

Because of the people

Because of the destruction

because of



by Samual D.

Because there are many opportunities here

Because all my family is here

Because I enjoy it here

Because there are so many kids of influences here

Because you can build your future here

Because everyone has their own say and opinion here

Because there are many career paths here

Because America is where I was raised

Mrs. McClain, 7th Grade


by Liam P.

Because I was born here

Because it is my hometown the windy city

Because of the violence

Because I was born there

and I would want to

celebrate it

Because everyone has a right to

be here so they should with rights

Because something might not

hurt my feelings could hurt

someone else’s because they

believe the certain things

because of their religion or


Because everyone is human and deserves to

have rights.

Learning to Love America

by Brigid R.

Because my family decided to come here

Because I am half of this country I should still celebrate and be proud

Because I see how much freedom I can have

Because everyone is equal

Because of the hatred and pollution here

Because no innocent person should have to suffer

Because we all deserve the same

and because we have many opportunities here



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.