Am I a person or a colour?

“Protests ended, but I still see the hate…”

This powerful political poem was written by the 14-year-old winner of the University of Warwick’s inaugural Writing Wrongs Schools Competition Junior Prize, co-ordinated by the Centre for Human Rights in Practice

You sailed to our land, separated us from our sand.

You ignored our desperate cries and stripped us of our rights.

You took our children’s lives.

Am I a person or a colour?

We used to smile in warmth, now we cry in cold.

After you stole our freedom, you also stole our gold.

You claim you have culture, but is it truly your own?

To you, I’m just a slave girl, but inside I’m a gemstone.

I am blue.

Artist's sketch of a woman's face in shades of blue

Institutional violence, blanketed in lies.

Please, may God be with all that have died.

Tell me, how long? We no longer want to hide.

1964, such a significant date.

Protests ended, but I still see the hate.

I am red.

Artist's sketch of a woman's face in shades of red

After centuries of fighting, fate now began rewriting.

But you conjured up lies about us, Lord forgive your smugness.

1834, you didn’t own us by law. But you still possessed my soul.

130 years for discrimination’s death.

Our chocolate skin no longer sweats.

I am yellow.

Artist's sketch of woman's face in shades of yellow

Botham Shem Jean, her deadly mistake.

And Officer Dallas, her life to take.

Only Christ dictates what we deserve?

Are those in blue, not meant to serve?

Silently society sings such hurtful words.

I am transparent.

Artist's sketch of woman's face with transparent quality

Hate is too great a burden to bear, do not forget red blood we all share.

Fellow human, no need to compare. No need to cause another despair.

Lightning makes no sound until it strikes, without war we have a longer life.

We are all people, not colours.

Although you badly hurt us, the pain was salubrious.

For we shall never make the same mistake, yes we know the result of hate.

Now we get on inmate, classmate, workmate.

From racism, we got history and music.

We took our hurt and anger, then used it.

We made people, proud of colour.

Look at me and see potential,

To all, equality should be essential,

Regardless of race, religion, sexuality.

What’s on the inside is what matters to me.

We must take to everyone kindly.

We are a rainbow, all needed.

Artist's sketch of woman wearing a rainbow headscarf

But being brought here gives future for our children,

Being brought here helped us to build resilience,

Thank you for the pain, it brought forth our brilliance.

We have the vote, we have rights. That’s what matters now.

I’ve seen our people in shining lights, I conform to my vows

We are one people, not colours.

Art by Kassidy Dawn.