Poetry: "Education"
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Poetry On The Odyssey: "Education"

The poetry performance that revolutionized my college experience.

Poetry On The Odyssey: "Education"
UCLA Alumni Scholars Club // Justine Ramos

My mother once told me, as all mothers do, "They can take everything away from you, but they CANNOT take away your education"

And I stood there with salty tears and salty snot racing down my face
As my mother tried to wash off the glue and sand that the kindergarten bullies poured on my head

Fully knowing that I wouldn't "tattle-tale" on them because well,

I didn't know how to.

And no, I don't mean that I was too nice to throw them under the bus, (because believe me I would've)

I meant, I didn't know how to.

Because my lips still kissed the sandy shores of Philippine beaches

And my tongue was still superglued to my native language

And I just didn't know how to

That day, I asked to be homeschooled, but she looked at me dead in the eyes and said:
"They can take everything away from you, but they CANNOT take away your education"

That was the first phrase in the English language I learned.

and I spit it out at bullies with pride.

They snipped my bangs with safety scissors and I said, "You can take everything away from me, but you cannot take away my education"

In 5th grade, my teacher told my parents to send me back to the Philippines because I was too behind,

So, I started reading books meant for kids in the 8th grade and I went to her desk and said, "You can take everything away from me, but you cannot take away my education"

In 11th grade, my counselor told me that my character wasn't something the UC schools were looking for, and when I was accepted to all of the UC schools, I marched to her office and said, "You can take everything away from me, but you cannot take away my education"

This phrase has evaporated the grains of sand on my lips into fresh new waves of English words

And it has melted the glue on my tongue into the smooth poems of Maya Angelou

Telling me that I am a phenomenal woman

And how I can sing of freedom

And how I can still rise despite my circumstances because of the gift of education

But you see, we too often hear these stories of the song of freedom, and the bird still being able to rise amidst the glue and sand

but nobody talks about the 690,000 birds who cannot confidently say: "you can take everything away from me, but you cannot take away my education"

They are called DREAMERS, but nobody should ever only dream about getting an education

Education is a fundamental human right

And these bullies may splatter your wings with tar and glass

They may snip your feathers

Tell you to go back to where you belong

Tell you that you are not fit to their standards

And they will want you to whimper in the corner with salt running down your face

But no matter what shore your lips touch

No matter what continent your tongue is from

We will rise

We will sing of freedom

We will continue to be phenomenal

And together, with no fear, we will say:

"You can take everything away from us, but you cannot take away our education"

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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