Vanessa Ramon-Ibarra was born in North Carolina and currently lives and attends high school in Washington, DC. Ibarra is a United States citizen born to a family of many undocumented immigrants, including her mother, who moved them back to Maracay, Venezuela, when Ramon-Ibarra was a child to avoid deportation. After living in Maracay, Ramon-Ibarra’s health deteriorated drastically due to asthma and she was sent back to the U.S. to live with relatives. In 2016, Ramon-Ibarra’s mother tried to cross the border back into the U.S. to see her children. When she was caught, she sought asylum and was detained for six months. After Donald Trump won the presidency, Ramon-Ibarra’s mother was informed by her lawyer that she could be deported at any time, and so she gave permanent custody of Ramon-Ibarra to her relatives.

Ramon-Ibarra says she is a weird poet; in the third grade, she would collage her own stories and poems together to entertain herself. She loves how the power of slam poetry helps her express herself and encourages her to recognize her own feelings of anger, disappointment, and happiness. Ramon-Ibarra says that being a first-generation American has been challenging, but it has also taught her the extraordinary skill of being bilingual, which she greatly values.

Ramon-Ibarra is an active participant in Spanish debates at her bilingual school, discusses the subject in her student government, and has protested at the White House. She organized a group to join the April 20, 2018, walkout for “March For Our Lives” because the lack of firearm restrictions in big cities, like Washington DC, makes her want to change the mindset that many young people are growing up with: that guns can be used like toys. Ramon-Ibarra is an outspoken feminist. When faced with tense debate with the unsympathetic, Ramon-Ibarra says that instead of trying to defend her beliefs, she asks her peers to explain the reasoning behind their argument to understand the opposition. She recognizes that hatred is rampant in our country, peace and love is her personal goal for this world.

Ramon-Ibarra hopes to attend college in the future. She participates in PEARLS (Promoting Education, the Arts, our Roots, Leadership and Service), a program at George Washington University sponsored by Senoritas Latinas Unidas, the Shakespeare Theater Teen Workshop, and 826 DC, a youth writing and tutoring center serving students in Washington, D.C.



by Vanessa Ramon-Ibarra

Annoyed at myself.

Annoyed at the barking dogs.

Annoyed at my outfit.

Annoyed at my diet.

Annoyed at my speech.

Annoyed at the color green.

Annoyed at my hair.

Annoyed at my messy room.

Annoyed at my classwork

Annoyed at my dirty filas.

Annoyed at my assigned seat.

Annoyed at the alarm clock.

Annoyed at my belt.

Annoyed at my hunger.

Annoyed at my debit card.

Annoyed at my nose.

Annoyed at the president of Venezuela.

Annoyed at my country

Annoyed at my world.

Yes, you can tell I’m annoyed but maybe you can make this world better, so I won’t be as annoyed.