March 11, 2002 - Remove the Hyphen

One Baton Rouge youngster has found a message of hope pulled from the ashes of the attack on America. It is a poetic vision of brotherhood.

Her name is Sabrina Dixon. She's a tenth grader at Tara High School. When she entered the school-wide poetry contest, the assigned theme was "United We Stand." Sabrina cast her eyes back to September 11, 2001.

Remove the Hyphen
By: Sabrina A. Dixon
Tara High School Grade 10

Chains on them burdened down by sorrow.
Will this ever end; will they never be free?
How long must they be tormented by these evil acts of injustice?
Can't go first, can't go last, can't vote,
Is such bigotry justified?
Stripped of pride, deprived of freedom and without which they are no longer
Stricken by the simple words, of the bias people, that trouble the mind, and
burden the
No coloreds allowed, the sign would read.
Whites only, would be mounted over the doors.
Separated by the narrow mindedness of the weak minded people.
           "And we hold these truths to be self-evident
                     That all men are created equal".
But what men were we talking about?
That was the past.

Ever so deceitfully we have separation in schools, in towns, and the
But if the wool coverings would be removed from your eyes you would see that
             Racism still exists today.
America still has African hyphen American, Asia hyphen American, Caucasian
             Hyphen American, Latino hyphen American, and Native hyphen American.
A plane has crashed into the North Tower, and all of a sudden into the South
America, a country thought to be invincible, has been stricken by acts of
And for the first time in American history the hyphen that has separated
color and creed
             Did not matter.
African-Americans, Caucasian-American, Latino-Americans, and
             Were all ambushed by the same people, under the same two roofs, by the same 
If we are cut, do we not all bleed red blood?
If we are hurt, do we not all cry clear tears?
Through the eyes of the attackers we were only seen as Americans.
The hyphen was removed and black men, and white men, or should we just say 
            Americans held hands in unity and comforted each other.
A tragedy would remove the coverings and allow Americans to see past the
            Of skin and see each other only as fellow American.
The hyphen was removed.
This is the present.

Thank you George Washington for gaining America its independence.
Thank you Harriet Tubman for planting the seed that would give all people a
            Determination to loose the chains of bondage.
Thank you John F. Kennedy for surmounting over the idealistic ideas of your
Thank you Rosa Parks for sitting in that seat.
Thank you Martin Luther King, Jr. for instilling a dream into all people.
Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross and blessing us to make it through
           Of prejudices, injustice, and terrorism and allowing us to say we are still 
           Here, strong and free.
What was our hope has now become our reality.
How beautiful it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.
United we stand, divided we fall.
Valor, freedom, and integrity is America!