Inspired by Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro, we hosted an essay contest for high school students to tell us how anger motivated them to make a positive change in their or life. Today we’re pleased to sure the winning essay with you.
By KaeShawn Smith
In my sixteen and a half years, one thing I have learned is that chaos always leads to change. Who am I to say whether that is a good or bad thing? All I know is that it’s more than true. Take for example, volcanoes. Volcanoes erupt and cause so much chaos. Many people are fearful of volcanoes, whereas some are intrigued. Either way you look at it, no one can disagree that the process isn’t chaotic. Yet, this chaos leads to change. Volcanoes give us the gift of islands, the same way anger plants gifts in our lives. The same way it’s became a gift in mine. In my sixteen and a half years, I’ve learned anger can be the greatest reason for change.
You may think, “What does a sixteen-and-a-half-year-old have to be angry about?” Well, when you’re black in America, you’ll find that there is much to be angry about. James Baldwin once said, “To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” This quote resonated with me and has inspired my journey into analyzing current-day Black America. The death and injustice of Trayvon Martin is what initially fueled my anger. That incident made me realize that black lives get taken every day. I also learned that no one seems to care.
When I was ten years old, I was filled with anger and honestly, heartbreak. Years passed, and my anger rose when I realized that black lives were being taken and BLACK people themselves don’t even seem to care. Many people just sit and complain but where is the change? In my sixteen and a half years, I’ve learned that change is a choice.
The anger instilled within me, changed me. My mindset flourished like the chaotic creation of the Hawaiian Islands. Anger and hate inspired me to live my life in an impactful way that will help teach Black America that our fight is not over. I guess you could say, the anger left me with a sparked passion. This led me to go to town meetings, speak with mayors, and use my platform as 2017 Missouri State Youth of the Year to teach people about tragedy within the black community. Also, to inspire people to make changes within the black community. From talking to children, to informing elders, I can say I have left a mark in many people’s lives. I’ve even bettered my own. This anger is turning me into a strong African-American woman. This is the best gift a sixteen-and-a-half-year-old could ask for and it all began with the chaos that anger created.