ESPERANZA RIVERA, 16
Esperanza Rivera is an artist and activist at the Chicago High School for the Arts where she focuses on the visual arts. While not working hard on her craft, she attends 826 CHI, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center, where she continues to pursue her passion for writing. This organization has given Rivera many opportunities, including introducing author Dave Eggers and the 44th President of the United States, President Barack Obama, at the 2018 Obama Summit.
Rivera is truly passionate about writing. Writing allows her to speak her mind and reflect upon every little amazing moment in her life. Writing allows her to freely express her thoughts and words without feeling restricted by a medium; all Rivera’s ideas come spilling out as if they were trapped for a long time. Her beliefs include giving children of all ages a platform to speak their mind because they will become the voices of the future. As an activist, she works to ensure that youth voices are heard. She believes that they will be the ones to impact the world and push change for the better.
In a society where adults try to limit the minds of children to prevent them from realizing the harshness of the world, Rivera believes in educating herself on the problems that the world faces instead of ignoring them. These issues include gun violence and its effect on society, the abuse of power by officials and the effects of sexism in the everyday lives of women.
Rivera dedicates her free time to taking pictures and then writing poetry based on the images. She enjoys exploring new things to expand her horizons, skill sets, and knowledge. She plans to study political science in college so that she might contribute in changing the world.
By Esperanza Rivera
You know the lyrics to every Spanish song written
Hitting every note and sayin each word perfectly and smoothly
Constantly telling me how I’m pronouncing the words wrong and that even though I’m Hispanic and you’re white you will always be more Hispanic than I’ll ever be
You remind me on how you’ve been speaking Spanish since a young age
And how I still struggle to learn it today
And your favorite thing to remind me is how I must be a disgrace to a Hispanic family. How even though you’re white you would bring them much more joy.
You love reminding me how I’m simply a girl with coal like eyes and a caramel complexion, hair that once was at my chest now lay gently about my shoulders and that’s all I am and will ever be. That’s all I have that will hint to others I am Hispanic
For in your eyes I am not
In your eyes I am a girl who struggles to try and keep up with the “expectations” Hispanics have to live by and I am just a girl who wants and wishes to truly
But I’m more than that I may not fit all of the stereotypical definitions given to Latina’s. But I am a Latina born and raised proud
out there ready to make sure that my voice is heard loud and clear
Who I am, how I look, and how I act is up to me. It is not up to others to decide who I will be