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11-Year-Old Maryland Boy Uses Poetry To Process Racism

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    COLUMBIA, MD (WJZ) — An 11-year-old boy from Columbia turned to writing after watching the video of the death of George Floyd.

He came up with an eloquent poem about police brutality, the recent protests and growing up as a young Black boy in America.

“It’s hard being on that Black list. I know, struggling with the racist.”

Those are the words of Josiah Wheeler, a student at Swansfield Elementary School.

“Protest, it’s gonna get violent. I know we’re all struggling. Look to me, color’s all you see,” the poem reads.

He wrote the poem after he saw the video of the death of George Floyd.

“My feelings were very overwhelming and since I liked writing poetry I thought I could write it in the form of poetry,” Wheeler said.

“George Floyd, his neck under your knee, Bettie Jones killed on Christmas Eve, by the cops we all loved,” the poem continues.

The poem was shared on his school’s Twitter page after Wheeler emailed it to his teacher, Laine Malcotti.

“He said I have this poem and I’d like for it to go far and wide,” Malcotti said.

“Protest our rights are what we need. Tear gas in my eye, help me please. How’d this all lead in history?” the poem goes on.

Wheeler’s mother, Tameka, was shocked and brought to tears when he showed it to her.

“We have conversations in my household about social issues, but I don’t think I really understood how touched by things Josiah is,” Tameka Lloyd said.

“I just have a lot of emotions and thoughts and I feel like it wouldn’t be fair if I wouldn’t speak out on it,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler’s teacher said she’ll be using this poem in her future lesson plans because she believes everyone can learn a lot from it.

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