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Aniya Butler, 12

Aniya Butler is a poet and activist in the sixth grade. Her poetry is a reaction to current events and the things happening around her--mostly racism and violence. She enjoys the act of writing as a cathartic experience--allowing her to examine the situation and let things go instead of keeping them bottled up. Butler was the winner of the Dr. martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Festival two years in a row and has performed widely throughout the Bay Area, including the Bay Area Book Festival with Dave Eggers. Her most recent poems are featured in Chapter 510’s Dreaming of Spring: Nurturing Seeds of the Imagination.

Butler is deeply passionate about ending the victimization of African-Americans by the police and notes that it seems that an innocent black man is killed every week. The acceptance of these murders, especially within the police force, with the offending officers receiving little to no reprimand or suspension, disturbs Butler to the core. She notes that perhaps she would not have to strive so hard against the extensive mountain of social justice issues if if there were more empathy and integrity in today’s world.
Butler currently attends Downtown Charter Academy and has just been chosen to attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston, Massachusetts.