Generation Z: An Autobiography

by Jaden G., 18 

Our story starts
with two planes and two towers.
2,753 people perished.
Welcome to the world.

We saw the news before our parents
grabbed the remote and changed
the channel to SpongeBob.
They didn’t know how to answer
when we asked who ISIS was.

Our teachers told us to stand
with our hands over our hearts
as we watched the black man on the screen
place his hand on a Bible.
We would grow to adore that man.

When daddy came home without a job,
we asked our friends what happens
when mommy and daddy run out of money.
“This,” one replied and kicked over
the Lego house he was building.

Suddenly they put phones in our hands
and they wrote us off as the kids
who couldn’t live without a screen.
Has anyone told them yet
that we’re using these to change the world?

When Washington legalized marijuana,
It wasn’t intended for us.
Neither was the vapor
we could breathe through our sweatshirts.
We blew smoke in their faces.

A police officer came into our classroom
to give a PowerPoint
on how to protect ourselves
in case someone decides
we shouldn’t walk out of our schools alive.

We heard the cheers
from the steps of the Senate
when it was declared that two people
in love can get married.
We cheered with them.

Can you hear us now?
We’re not here to pout and stomp our feet,
but we’re not oblivious.

You who taught us to speak,
we’re not afraid of the world
you’ve given us.
Thank you for your gift.
It’s beautiful.
We can take it from here.

Fort Collins, Colorado