Ebony Stewart, an internationally touring poet and performance artist, partnered with us and wrote this powerful poem and call to action: “The Imagination Report.” Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? Read the poem or watch the video voiced by Ebony below.
The Imagination Report
So I’m reading an imagination report of what
kids wanna be when they grow up
I’m reading this because I remember
I wanted to be everything, but maybe
that’s just my adult regret remembering
what I wish I would’ve made time for
as I continue to make time
for things that don’t deserve me
or maybe it’s my inner child I forget to play with,
a garden I forget to water,
or a plant I don’t talk to but still want it to grow,
you can be anything you want… anything at all…
you just gotta remember that when you grow up
The imagination report reveals that children still
wanna be doctors like Doc McStuffins, veterinarians, police
officers like Paw Patrol, teachers, scientists, and engineers.
But they also want to be singers, rappers, make-up artists,
vloggers, and chefs just from watching YouTube!
Yep. To no surprise, YouTube/TV/Movies took the one for
Top Influences on the career choices scale.
Personal passions came in second.
Even children as young as six know they need someone to help
their dreams flourish, their voices heard, their lives invested into.
Think back, if you can, if you’ll allow yourself to recall the first
something or someone you loved more than anything.
Coming in a close third for top influences is “parents”.
Their first connection to community. Their first idea of support.
Their first, forever home. Who taught you how to dream?
Or maybe a better question is, When did you learn not to
dream so big? How did you learn how to worry more and dream
less? And the imagination report goes on to say that parents feel their
kids are prepared to follow their dreams, but are worried about how
to finance them. I grew up in a single parent household.
I think I was in seventh or eighth grade when I learned
there was a such thing as a light bill. My mother laughed as I
ran around the house shutting all the lights off. I knew what I thought
I knew, but I was just a kid that wanted to help. My mom’s entire focus
for us was to let kids be kids & not to be held responsible for
all of this. No, she couldn’t come to every volleyball game
or track meet. But someone was always there. Grandma, Uncle Hank,
Daddy Gray, Mrs. Donatto, Mrs. Neil, and the always silly, Ms. Louise
were her lifeline and my support system.
Yeah. Thank goodness for people willing to make a difference.
I don’t remember every game I won or my fastest run time. But the bigger
picture is of the memories I have of the emotional availability and the most
purposeful amounts of time from these everyday people.
Okay. So some kids wanna be a Dragon Keeper, a Dancing Unicorn, a
Librina (which is a librarian who is also a ballerina). I’ve always wanted to be
Storm. The first Black female superhero with superhuman powers that possessed
a plethora of telepathic abilities that could manipulate all forms of weather through
her body, who is skilled in combat, a high priestess with ancestral support
aka BLACK GIRL MAGIC
And I get to be her.
I’ve learned there is justice in healing. There’s stability in hope. And strength in empathy.
Every day I wake up advocating for love, trying to make a change, discounting the impossible.
It only takes a few seconds to be a hero, an agent, an intentional somebody who consistently shows up. Maybe you wanna be Superman, an octopus, a Power Ranger. Maybe you already are. Maybe you just need someone to tell you that,
You can be anything you wanna be… anything at all…
you just gotta believe it or have someone to help you be it, as you grow up.