What’s In My Toolbox?

This week MLK Academy 6th, 7th, and 8th students explored the idea of using “tools” to fix social issues.  Tools are objects that aid us in completing certain tasks, such as building a house or mending a broken road. Together we read “What’s In My Toolbox,” by poet and activist Olivia Gatwood. In her poem Gatwood describes how some individuals are born with “privilege,” a tool that allows them to easily navigate through the world, because they receive special rights and opportunities. Gatwood believes that we can use this “privilege” to help others who are disadvantaged and lack their own tools due to racism and poverty. We can tell our school we need more ramps for kids on wheels /  We can invite friends over for dinner and send them off with a full belly.

Inspired by Olivia Gatwood, students used poetry to create toolboxes filled with tools that they can use to help people in their community. Please enjoy these published poems.



London’s Toolbox
By London

We choose what school we go to.
You should be grateful for getting an education.
There are others who want the education you’re getting.
You can make friends with people at your school.
You can share your knowledge with others younger than you.
You should be grateful for how much money you have.
Because some people don’t have any at all.
You should donate to shelters.

For what you have, you should be grateful.
Because some people want what you have.
But can’t get because others are insulting and hurting them.
Not because they’re homeless.
But because they “shouldn’t have done the thing that made them
You might not describe yourself as rich, but some see you as rich.
You can share your old clothes with the homeless.
You could at least give them a few dollars.



Stephon’s Toolbox
By Stephon


Everybody can do fun events 


                                  Cleaning the neighborhood


        Bike rides around Chicago


                                           Giveaways to the community


                Block parties more often


Stop the violence with parades, marches, and events







“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.