DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. -- Alexandria Rhodes, a 15-year-old high school student from Dinwiddie County, is now a published author.
"Ever since I was little, I've always enjoyed writing just anything, whether it was writing my dreams down or writing about my imaginary friends or making up different worlds in my head and writing about them," the Appomattox Regional Governor's School sophomore said. "I really don't write that much poetry."
But her poem "Dear Young Black Child" was picked to be included in the newest edition of "Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul."
The young author prefers writing fiction, but in 2020 her teachers encouraged her to submit a piece for publication.
The murder of George Floyd Jr. and the Black Lives Matter protests that followed inspired Rhodes to write something more personal.
"I've had run-ins with racism," she said. "It kind of hit close to home to think about this, this could be me, this could be my sister, my brother. And so I wanted to write about it and why I chose to write about it in the form of a poem."
Her work touched hearts and opened some eyes.
"I think my mom was crying the first time she read it," she said. "A lot of people are just like, wow, we didn't realize how big this was for you because obviously as a Black person growing up in this country, racism is big for me because I live it."
As a newly published author, Rhodes hopes her honesty and vulnerability will motivate other young people to stay focused and achieve their dreams, no matter the obstacles.
"I just hope that specifically Black children and Black teens feel pride. They feel inspired and that they feel seen and motivated to keep going," she said.
Rhodes said she was already brainstorming her next project and hoped to write a novel.
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