Yesterday, as I was preparing for my next class one of my former students, whom I’ve taught while he was in 8th grade, walked in my room and handed me his first published book of poetry. His wide jovial smile graced his handsome face which beamed with pride and growth. Abdul-Razak Aboubakar, my former student and the author of The Creative Mind, is now a senior in high school and already a published author. The cover picture shows a photo of himself as a young adorable boy. I was in awe as he went on to explain that he has been working on his book over the past four years. Flipping through the book I couldn’t believe the growth of this blossoming young man who chose to share his voice with the world in such a beautiful and creative way.
Of course, I purchased the copy of the book he handed me and I started reading it that night. Page after page of Abdul-Razak’s book is filled with genuine poetic words of inspiration and creativity. His book of poetry reflects on deep topics like death, family, depression, loss, and romance. But what’s more inspiring is the amount of dedication and risk-taking this young aspiring writer expressed when he decided to share his powerful voice with the world. Abdul-Razak’s work is an inspiration to all young people; it’s affirmation of the empowerment young people can have when they experiment with language and express their voices in such unique ways.
Abdul-Razak is a young person with a powerful voice; a voice loud enough to shatter the stereotypes and limitations our society imposes, especially on young minorities. As Abdul-Razak proudly indicates:
Being black isn’t a disgrace,
Nor is it a shameful race,
But good people in a bad place,
With endless opportunities to rise…
We all might come from a different place,
Move at a different pace,
But if you have the same colored face,
You’re included in what’s said to be most enriched race.
Abdul-Razak’s writing is genuine affirmation of the impact we can have on our students! How flattered and enthused I felt that this young man thought of me after all these years and came to share his work with me. More importantly, this talented young man is a true inspiration for all young people to never give up on their dreams. His work reflects conviction that hard work and commitment will ultimately lead to success.
I realize that who I am is not what I am but who I choose to be,
For my destiny is already inscribed,
Regardless of the paths I take,
Or the decisions I make,
I will continue to rise…