I’m from strong black women
I’m from brightly colored dashikis, kujichagulia, and nia
I’m from spring break trips to the Ponderosa, soaking up the fresh country air
I’m from the orcas street corner, calling for cars to buy my lemonade late into the afternoon
I’m from Seward park, skating, biking, hiking under the crisp fall leaves
I’m from the smell of smothered potatoes and onions calling me out of bed on a Saturday morning
I’m from the happy feeling of Doris giving me gifts of every kind.

I’m from playing with my cousins in Anita’s living room
I’m from treat others the way you want to be treated and don’t beat a dead horse
I’m from February lectures on African American heroes.

I’m from barbeques and parties with music so loud you can feel it in your feet
I’m from LaShawnDa’s wise words of advice correcting me to make me strong
I’m from always do your very best black girl, and with your head your heart and hands you can change the world
I’m from Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, and Lauryn Hill sounding in my ears.

The lessons I’ve learned from strong black women are many
The goals that they set for their lives and for mine are where I’m from
I am my grandmother's goals expressed through prayers
I am her innovation
Every prayer she prayed, every invention she made
I am from every time she stumbled and picked herself back up
I am the seed and the blossom of my mother’s wonder
I am from all the things she does to make our life work
I am from every act of sympathy and thoughtfulness
From my auntie’s vision and intuition
Her pride and determination,
I am from every unicorn I’ve ever imagined
I’m from every beat I’ve ever danced
Every tear I’ve ever cried
Every joke I’ve ever told
I am from every me I’ve ever been
That’s where I’m from.

Originally published in KidSpirit Online for the Fulfillment issue.

When she wrote this poem, Taylor was a 12-year-old aspiring dancer born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She enjoys dancing, singing, and creating art. She started writing poetry as a part of her sixth-grade project and looks forward to writing more.