Replace your small frown that they don’t see
With words, declaring it was offensive
Replace that forgiving hug
With admitting it’s actually not ok
Speak up.
Replace your smile
With a loud, cackling laugh
Say the whole joke you were holding in
Speak up
Don’t look down when they walk by
Start your own conversation
So you can at least say you tried.
Speak up
Replace your slow nods
With admitting you actually don’t agree
Speak up
and say what you meant to
Release the words trapped within
Let go of their opinions
They are weighing you down
argue and fight
scream and cry
and
Speak Up

In this assignment, we were asked to write a repetitive poem, repeating a phrase that we wanted to impact the reader. For my poem, I chose to repeat the phrase “Speak Up’ because I often struggle with speaking up myself. I enjoyed this assignment because we had a lot of freedom to spread whatever message we wanted to. When I read this poem, it makes me think about times when I should have spoken up, and it inspires me to speak up in the future. When other people read this poem, I hope it inspires them to say what they want, even in situations where it may seem scary, speak up!

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CC BY-SA 4.0 What You Meant To Say: Speak Up by Naomi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

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