By: Ishan Bhuiyan, 7th Grade
In life, you have to work hard to get the things that you want, like how I am working hard right now in school to get into a really good high school and I am trying to get my very first high honor roll on the first trimester. Most students just get jumped in the corner store while some girls/boys are just laughing like they're in the circus which means they are bystanders. We see some LGBTQ people being roasted every day yet nobody cares because they think it's not their business and they are not doing anything to stop that person. But the real point is that if someone besides your family is hurting you, you have to tell them to stop because there is nobody powerful enough (not even the President) to rip your reputation and pride off of you since it is a birthright we all have no matter what we are.
Whenever there is someone who is taking advantage of you or is hurting you in an hurtful way, you have to stand up for yourself because people might not help you since they do not know how you feel. I remember during 5th grade some people kept calling this girl fat and I thought in my mind; 'How would you like it if someone called you fat (one of them was fat)?'
But the girl who was being roasted started laughing. It felt weird to me but some people act like they are tough on the outside but on the inside, that girl probably felt like she was not welcomed. She might have felt bad about how she looked, but even after she was made fun of all she said was "Hush," and that has no impact on bullies.
She did not have any courage to speak up to them but if she stood up for herself she would probably have been saved from those cursed and painful words. Therefore, if someone tries to pick on you, you should tell them to stop. You need to show your way of teaching them a lesson to not to mess with your pride and reputation.
Whenever there is someone who is taking advantage of you or is hurting you in a mean way you have to stand up for yourself because people might not help you since they do not know how you feel. In our school, we do not see many LGBTQ people but the ones that attend our school are made fun and they have an upsetting backstory to them. Also before the quarantine, I played with an LGBTQ boy outside the school who said in his description of himself; "I am proud to be gay."¨ This inspired me because he shared something that many people heavily oppress in public.
Then I met another boy who was in this school and an LGBTQ member. He said people did not like him and he was always rejected. He also said that he felt like people used him which showed that not even inside schools are students safe. One thing I did notice was that he loved staying with his friends and people are not human if they do not have friends but once he also told me that he cried telling the teacher that nobody wanted to sit next to him in class so I told him just come to our class but he said people just make bad jokes about him. He still tries to make best friends with people and he stands up to those who despise him, but people still do it. Therefore, teach people in any way no matter what to respect you because they don’t have a single ounce of power to strip you of your identity.
In conclusion, the message of my testimony is that you have to stand up and speak your mind so that people do not take advantage of your privileges. Some people don't talk a lot, which is why whenever something important is needed we never get it because of the cowardly fog that is covering us. If someone is making fun of us people might not actually stop it from happening (a teacher would I know), since they do not want to get caught up in someone else's problem. That's when you have to tell them to back off because if you don’t, you could lose your pride or your self-esteem in front of some bullies. Therefore, this explains why I created a testimonial message that you should stand up for yourself and speak your peace of mind.
By: Jovianna Roopchand, 7th Grade
I chose to write about colorism because I wanted to discuss something relatable to me and this was the first topic I thought of. I have family from Venezuela, China, India, France, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, and probably more places that I don't know about. Recently, I've been listening to Indian songs and I'm interested in learning Hindi. Also, I've been researching more about Hinduism - mainly because my ancestors were Hindu. I have relatives who still follow and know lots about Hinduism. In other words, I've been investing more time on my Indian roots. I watched this movie called "Bulbul" on Netflix with my mom a few months ago and Mom was able to point out a lot of things that people do differently in India than in America. This movie inspired me to use the main Indian actress, Tripti Dimri, who played Bulbul, to be featured in the second picture of my video. In the movie, she was saved by the Hindu goddess, Kali. My mom told me about Kali, since she knows a lot about Hinduism. This made me a lot more interested in Hinduism than I was before and now my favorite Hindu goddess is Kali. I feel like Kali is misunderstood because even though she's the goddess of things like death/destruction, she's actually often considered the kindest and most loving of all the Hindu goddesses. Also, Kali is a great protector and creator because out of chaos comes new beginnings.
While focusing on India, I wanted to make it clear that all Indians do not have the same appearance. We do not always wear saris, we do not always have the same hair texture or skin complexion, etc. I know many other people can relate. A person may have Indian parents but didn't grow up in India, so they don't wear traditional Indian garments like saris every day, and that does not mean they are less Indian. Personally, I don't wear saris everyday either however I wear them on special occasions. Also, I do not have straight hair like the typical East Asian. My mother doesn't have a stereotypical Indian skin tone either. Her skin tone is lighter and with her textured curly hair, people often mistake her for being Hispanic. My mom’s sisters have naturally straight hair, and different skin tones than my mother and I. That is one of the reasons why I chose to speak about colorism. While, I don't speak about it a lot – it is something my entire family can relate to. We all have different skin tones, different hair textures and different features and therefore people treat us differently. Also, not all of us live in New York, but we are all related and all have Indian roots.
LBy: Mia Ray, 6th Grade
To whom this may concern,
For a while now, I’ve constantly been misunderstood. People have assumed things about me and as a result wouldn’t allow me to do certain things.
Back in elementary, a kid told me that I can’t connect to Black rights because I’m not Black and instead I’m Latina. That deeply hurt me and I just shut down.
Two seconds later I actually powered on. I decided I should stand up for myself, saying “I’m not just Latina! I am a mix of West Indian and I’m also Black. I’m not just what you assume me to be. I have a large background and you should understand that.” That was a time I felt really confident and I’m proud of myself for that.
Recently, I was just walking and I mentioned my background to those I called my friends. One called out, “How are you Hispanic but you can’t speak Spanish?”
By: Chinasa Nwankwo, 7th Grade
I believe that religion is flexible.
I was born and raised an Catholic so I was surrounded by that. But besides the influences I had at church I also had other influences like at school or the people I met, and that influenced my mindset confusing me which way was the right path. I had to use logic to ground myself in what I believe. Due to that I never generally took it seriously and just chose to do what I wanted when it came to religion.
I went to Sunday School for the first time last year or so and my teacher said something that helped me personally understand religion. She said how Christianity or religion as a whole is personal and how one takes it is different for every person. When I heard that it made me think how I viewed religion and what principles I want to base my life off of.
Depending on what your religion is there is a basis to what you believe. It's like a slab of wood. You can use each slab or belief you have to build on each other and make something, in this case it's what you believe, and how you see religion. I believe in something other Catholics might not but if I take it from a logical sense they have their own certain beliefs and I have mine as long as we have the same basis then we are both still fellow Catholics.
Religion is foundational, you build from on top of it. There are people who could be from the same religion that believe very different things, and that may seem wrong. However, we should still be understanding and acknowledge their view. Religion is not only flexible but personal as well, it grows and changes as you do.
By: Amalya McKelvery, 7th Grade
There are many people who struggle at home. There are many who are dealing with issues there too afraid to express or they feel like there's no one there to speak to. This leads them to think negative things, things they should not be thinking -- and this can then lead to depression. So I believe in the power of being there for someone.
Just simply being there for someone can mean a lot. The person may feel trapped and not know what to do, they may not feel as if they can share their thoughts, they'll feel like they're all alone. This is when people can fall into; depression. When they start thinking they don't matter and no one cares for their situation.
So I remember earlier last year, when going to visit the doctor they gave me this test that was on paper. It asked simple questions like “What do you like to do?” and “Do you enjoy going outside?" I put the truth, “I like staying in the house on my phone” and “I like going out sometimes, but not always...," for example.
Later on, after they looked over my answers, they told me I might have ‘depression.' They mentioned that I should maybe start attending therapy in order to find out why I might have ‘depression.'
I honestly thought I might have it too. I often would cry at night or even in the shower?? And I never really knew why. Crying without a reason didn’t seem right at all to me, I always felt like I didn’t have anyone to communicate my problems and I realized...I just wanted people to listen to me. To check on me even when there wasn’t something really wrong, even if I wasn't showing it. Just to be checked on.
Many people need to be checked on. No matter what -- none of us know for sure what another person may be going through.
Once again, I believe in making sure a person is alright. I believe in checking on someone no matter the circumstance because simply saying “I'm here for you” could make a person smile, it could make them feel better about themselves in every way. Just by letting them know someone has their back.