The items,pictures and words I put in my shadow box represent me and the dominant narratives I encounter everyday. In my box I also put the counter narratives that I use to fight against the opinions/perceptions people have about me. I am a 13 year old Black male and I am 6,4. What I just said people have so many dominant narratives about. Most people look at me and immediately think of NBA star or NFL star, but I don’t want to have that be my future. I want to be a chef and one day have my own restaurant, but I have to work for It. One day I hope that I persevere through all of the assumptions and opinions people have about me and about young Black men.


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Moi Tong-Woo
April 9, 2020 5:44 pm

Hi Jacob,

My name is Moi and I am a student at San Jose State University. I really like your shadow box. I can tell by your aspirations in life that you do not care about what other people think about you. That’s a really inspiring mindset, and not a lot of people can say the same. I noticed XXXTentacion in your box, and though I do not listen to his music, I know he helped a lot of people through really tough times. It’s important to have these times of role models, especially in times like this. I hope you achieve your dream; you got this!


November 3, 2019 10:05 pm

Dear Jacob January,

I am a student at San Jose State University. I really enjouyed reading your piece for your shadow box. I really liked how you want to go against and break common stereotypes to do what you enjoy doing. You have to keep pushing for it no matter how hard the pressure gets. You can accomplish it as longs as you put your mind to it. You’ve got this.


October 30, 2019 11:40 pm

Hello! I am a freshman at San Jose State University. I really admire your work ethic. This shadow box is really inspiring and you attempting to break the stereotypes is amazing. I wish you good luck on your dream! I really enjoyed reading your shadow box!

October 23, 2019 6:36 pm

Dear Jacob January,

I am very proud of you for making this Shadow Box. One of my favorite things of it is the picture of Jahseh in the box. I really look up to him and I know, as your friend, we both, mourned his death. Also the Warriors banner means a lot to Oakland so I’m glad you added that as well. Thank you for your writing. I look forward to what you have next in store. You have a lot of potential as a person in general.

Sincerely, Isaiah Gomez

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


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