Towson High School Allows Student to Perform Black Lives Matter Poem After Petition

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Marcus Shaw
Marcus Shaw

Towson High School’s class president will get a chance to speak up about realities facing African Americans.

Marcus Shaw wanted to recite a spoken word poem based on the issues being addressed by the Black Lives Matter movement at the school’s talent show on Wednesday. He says the poem, which was already published in the school’s literary arts magazine, carries a message of “denying restricting thoughts like stereotypes and chasing the dreams that are labeled ‘out of reach.'”

Here’s one section: “Like Eric Garner/I cannot breathe/But I promise I will garner my responsibilities/I want to succeed/No, I have to succeed/My life will not end at 23.”

The poem also contains But a school steering committee and the principal said the poem was “offensive and an attack on police,” and decided they would not let him perform it.

Enter social media. Over the weekend a petition appeared, and earned nearly 2,500 supporters. By Tuesday, a second post from Shaw appeared on the petition, indicating he would be allowed to perform the poem, after all.

There will be a couple changes. Shaw will take out the word “weed,” and change “shooting a brother” to “hurting a brother,” the Baltimore Sun reports.

Read the full poem at the petition.


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