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Knoxville teen says she lives with fear after recent shootings, transformed her pain into a poem

One young girl is opening up about her fear after four teens died due to gun violence, and how she transformed that pain into a poem.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — One teenager is speaking up about gun violence through her writing. She said that the recent shooting incidents in Knoxville have been taking a toll on her and her peers.

"Whenever I go out somewhere, I wonder if I'm going to come back home. When I go to school and see my friends, I wonder if that's the last time I'm ever going to see them again," said Jordan Mayes, who is 13-years-old.

She has a passion for music and is used to putting pen to paper, creating song lyrics to express herself.

But after the death of four Knoxville teenagers in less than two months, she wrote a poem to reflect on the pain of seeing those closest to her hurt. 

"A lot of my friends at school have close friends and family members that were affected by this," Mayes said."I guess if I just see something that doesn't sit right with me, my heart just starts racing, stuff starts going through my mind and I wonder."

The violence has put a fear in her that now creeps into her everyday life. Now, she said she hopes her words can speak to a community that she feels has been broken to pieces. She is working to bring people together, knowing that it takes effort from everyone to stop the violence.

"I feel like, as a community, we all just need to come together and spread positivity," said Mayes.

Credit: Jordan Mayes

The full poem is below:

Killing Our Kind

The mask we all wear

Invisible but it's there

The stories we all have

But some we don't want to share

Emotions that are hidden

The stories are forbidden

The hurt deep inside is too easy for us to hide

Some might call it shy

But I just want to run away and cry

Cry out for all the hurt

Cry out for all the pain

We are all people, but we are not looked at all the same

My kind is labeled as "ghetto"

My kind is labeled as "thugs"

But deep down inside we all just need a hug

To know that we are needed

Because we are all the SAME

No human being deserves to go through all this pain

Under our mask is something you don't see

People say we're all treated equally, but I disagree

They are killing my kind

I pray the next one isn't me!