The Right To Live

This week MLK Academy 6th, 7th, and 8th students explored what it means to have “rights” Rights are the liberties and freedoms that belong to everyone as human beings.  Together we read and discussed the poem “Right To, After Claude McKay” by poet and activist Mahogany L. Browne. Throughout her poem repeats the phrase “If we must live,” to describe what life she imagines for herself and the black community. If we must live let it be a true life/One full of choices and opportunities/ One that isn’t designed to push us in a corner. Browne believes black lives are important, and deserve to have dignity, respect, and chances to succeed.

Inspired by Mahogany L. Browne students wrote poems about their rights and how they wish to live their lives. Below is a poem by London, whose profound words reflect the struggles this young generation faces to gain equality and justice. Please enjoy her poem.



London’s Right To Live
By London


If must live let me be who I want to be

If I must live make Black Lives Matter

If I must live let me feel safe to go anywhere

If I must live get rid of white supremacy 

If I must live get rid of police brutality

If I must live let me walk in peace

If I must live All Lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter

If I must live stop killing innocent blacks

If I must live let me do what I want

If I must live give me actual reasons why you hate black people




“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.