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Elizabeth Acevedo's "The Poet X" brings to light the beauty and nuances of teenage Afro-Latinx experiences.

By Ruby Mora Literature was a pivotal part of my upbringing. My mother read books to me and planted this love early on in my life. I read mostly young adult fiction and poetry in high school, but I’ve realized over the last five years or so that most of the YA literature I grew up reading was not only written primarily by white authors, but also had main characters that were white, and if there were people of color, they ended up being severely stereotypical sidekicks to the main characters. Even years after my time in high school, the lack of work written by marginalized voices in the literary world is still an unfortunate trend, but there has been a progressive movement, especially in 2017 and this year, where there were many significant works released by women authors of color: “Her Body and Other Parties” by Carmen Maria Machado, “Peluda” by Melissa Lozada-Oliva, and “Don’t Call Us Dead” by Danez Smith, just to name a few. One book, specifically a novel-in-verse, and its March release is already sparking such progressive changes in the literary world. “The Poet X” by author and immaculate poet Elizabeth Acevedo provides a unique form of storytelling through poetry, while centering the story around Xiomara Batista, a Dominican teen living in Harlem who processes her surroundings and occurences within her family and outside of it through poetry, in an environment where she states she feels unseen and unheard. 

For all the clamor and the rush to post, protest, and support undocumented people, there are millions of immigrants whose experiences have been erased from the story.

Earlier this week, Donald Trump’s administration announced its decision to rescind the Obama-era policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, shaking the nation’s immigrants, especially the 11 million undocumented people. The decision will allow renewals until March 2018 for current DACA recipients to work or study in the US, but the administration will no longer consider new applications. Since then, tweets and posts have flooded social media and people scrambled to change their profile pictures to say, “I stand with immigrants”. Demonstrations were held, reactions have come from members of Congress and prominent religious groups. The decision was even met with a bipartisan-sponsored revival of the DREAM Act, pushed for by Sens. Durbin (D-IL) and Graham (R-SC). Yet for all the clamor and the rush to post, protest, and support undocumented people, there are millions of undocumented immigrants whose experiences have been erased from the story. They are those at the intersections of identities that further marginalize and disadvantage. They are the poor, they are Black, they are trans, they are disabled, they are refugees. They are those whose features and skin tones don’t match the ones on brochures or fliers that activist groups pass out. They are the ones whose stories are not the “rags-to-riches” narratives that appeal to donors. They are the ones already most at risk for deportation. They are the ones who are forgotten. For decades the US has peddled the myth of a meritocratic Land of Opportunity. The lie was spread that if you only work hard enough and pull yourself up, then you too can make your life better. This great U.S. tradition is co-opted and continued by the media in portrayals of undocumented immigrants.

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