In the book Courageous Conversations, we are encouraged to do a series of reflections. The first one is about our response to this poem –

I Dream

I am from a clash of Color,
From an idea of love, modeled for others’ perception.
I see me as I am, but am hidden from others’ views.
I am who I am, but a living contradiction to my peers.
I see life as a blessing, a gift granted to me.
Why should my tint describe me? Why should my culture degrade me?
Why should the ignorance of another conjure my presence?
Too many times I’ve been disappointed by the looks,
By the sneers and misconceptions of the people who don’t get me,
Who don’t understand why it hurts.

I dream of a place of glory and freedom,
Of losing the weight of oppression on my back.
I dream of the enlightenment of people,
Of the opening of their eyes.
I dream for acceptance,
And for the blessing of feeling special just once.
One moment of glory … for the true virtue in my life.
For the glimmer of freedom, and a rise in real pride.

-Pablo Vega

I found a copy of it here —
This is the prompt —
What are your initial reactions to Pablo’s poem? What parts of the poem resonate most for you? What parts of the poem present confusion for you? Judging from his work, what type of student do you believe Pablo to be? If Pablo were a student in your school, how might you respond to his voice? To what degree to do you believe “Pablos” are attending your school?
Initial reactions – There’s a real voice here. It pops off the page. Frustration with the status quo. These are rhetorical questions. And I appreciate the sense of depth here. He refers to “real pride.” So often, schools do things to promote pride in a superficial way.
A lot of the poem resonates with me. I think a lot of people, and not just teenagers, don’t think that anyone ‘gets’ them.
I think it’s a silly question to ask what kind of student Pablo might be. But I’ll try. He seems to describe himself as “a living contradiction to his peers.” So a loner? Someone who bucks stereotypes / expectations?
I think I’d respond to his voice by encouraging him to keep writing. If he wanted to recite or perform the piece somewhere, I’d help make that happen.
I skipped the confusion question – “clash of Color” Why is color capitalized? Is he somehow between two colors? Bi-racial?
I think this reminds me of a lot of our students, but one in particular comes to mind. She’s one who doesn’t always fit, not in how she acts and not in how she does and does not fit into our student body. She’s been made to take this English competency test over and over and over again (her first language is Spanish), and I finally heard her voice her frustration about it last year, both on her own behalf and on behalf of her younger sister. Maybe I’ll give this poem to her.