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.
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!