CATSKILL, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Aaliyah Shook is a 15-year-old heading into her sophomore year of high school.  She loves writing, loves her family, and loves her community. Her mother wrote to NEWS10 ABC to share a touching poem her daughter wrote after seeing the recent events unfold in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the ensuing unrest that followed.  

Reflecting on a country once associated with new beginnings and acceptance Aaliyah taking pen to paper asking herself “what have we become?”  The passionate young woman is no stranger to racism and indifference, even in her small rural town.

Aaliyah said she woke up crying in the days after Mr. Floyd’s murder. She said after reading articles and watching stories on the news, she was still left feeling empty. That’s why she wrote the poem below.

“One Voice”
A poem written by Aaliyah Shook, age 15

My brothers and sisters, I am sorry.
I am sorry that we are judged and our pain forgotten,
Our justice misplaced, and our hearts presumed rotten.

That our chocolate rich skin is seen as nothing remote to unique
And our complexion isn’t thought of as perfect, beautiful just as mama thinks.

My brothers and sisters, I am sorry.
I am sorry that we are misunderstood and not given the time of day,
Not given the same rights as they.

I am sorry that we cannot play,
Cannot run free, run wild,
Love and learn like any normal child.

Because we are different, and that forever will be okay.
We are loved but live in a world of wrongful communities,
Amongst people with hate in their heart, and an
Anger so strong, it’s for centuries torn our world apart.

But you must understand, not all people are the same,
Some appear different but wish for us to be saved.

They wish to protect us and they wish to end the violence,
Delete discrimination and break the worldwide silence.

They wish to stand with us, and they wish to use their privilege.
They support our aspired harmony, and they are doing what they can to speak it.

It cannot be heard, if we don’t allow it.
But by standing with them as one, we have the power to amplify it

We bleed the same colored blood,
It’s time we act like it.

We are all capable of projecting heart wrenching love
We live to do so in harmony, and it’s our time to make
The human race the strongest known army

It is the world against the problem,
Hate against love, the world against judgement,
Never one against one

There is no race against race,
We are all brother and sister,  family and friend
We are a world craving societal and political change,
So what will we do to make it happen?

Our generation must act differently,
And we must be original
Return America to the land of the free
And a land associated with love, faithfulness and opportunity

Violence has never solved violence,
Only causing chaos and corruption
Peace is protest, togetherness, that’s what is loudly spoken.

It is time we break history’s wrongful repetition
Do differently, and correct a prior generations’ action.
Become one, fight together, that is what we crave,
Being the only given solution in which this problem will hither away.

Aaliyah says she believes in her town, in her community, and in the future we can create together, if we can change together.