Candance performing her original work at InsideOut’s inaugural Share the Light benefit. (2017)
Why I Write
I write when people say I taIk too much.
I write to set the world aflame.
I write to speak for those who are afraid to.
I write to state my rights.
I write to represent my race.
I write to show I’m not afraid.
I write to show my creativity.
I write to say who I am.
I write to be free.
When I was growing up, I noticed that in school, they’d always give us an unrealistic idea of what life would be like growing up, especially black kids. In elementary and middle school, we were given the idea that we could grow up and do anything, with no problems. They didn’t warn us about the oppression the black community goes through, and how much harder things are for us in the world. I always had the idea that everyone was equal. We weren’t taught about white supremacy, or systematic racism, or police brutality.
I remember that poem I wrote in middle school, “Only Us,” and it’s become more relevant lately than ever. When I re-watched the video of our performance, one of the lines that really hit me was, “We speak for a man with peace in his dreams.” That’s all we as a community want and are hoping to achieve.
The reason we don’t feel comfortable in our skin is because it seems like the color of our skin constantly poses a threat to others around us. That shouldn’t be the case but it is. In “Only Us,” we talked about how we were coming on behalf of the black community, and how we had to work together to try and put a stop to the negativity surrounding the black community, and recently that’s what’s being seen with the riots and marches and protests.
Art has become one of my favorite ways to express myself. Whether it’s with paint, chalk, color pencils, I’ve truly come to appreciate how expressive art is. I’ve also gotten into art history and learning the backstory on certain artists and their paintings. Music has become crucial too. It’s part of who I am. I joined my school’s band and started learning how to play. Music is a universal language and I’ve come to appreciate it more and more and realize how powerful it is.
InsideOut has brought so much joy to my life in the last six years. I really do cherish every opportunity I get in the program. InsideOut helped me become a better reader and writer. Through InsideOut, I learned how to use my words better, and reading became even more addictive. It also helped me talk about things such as loss. When I got to high school I felt like I was trying to find myself all over again, and I wasn’t the person I had previously thought I was; it was a big culture shock. But writing was still a big part of my life. I still use writing frequently to express myself. Whether it’s for creative writing in class or if I’m writing a personal poem or letter. I’ve started a tradition of writing everyone in my immediate family a poem for them on their birthday and it normally comes easy to me and I can say that I have InsideOut to thank for that.
The goals and aspirations I have for myself are to become a veterinarian, or work in a field that assists animals in need. I’ve always felt a need to tend to creatures that couldn’t help themselves. It’s been my dream job since I was a little girl. In addition to that, I’d like to become a writer, more than likely a poet, and use my writings to speak out on rights for black people and women’s rights.