Gwennita Hines is currently a student at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C); she is also a member of Tri-C’s Mandel Scholars Academy. Her poem, “What do you see through me?” responds to the following image from the INTER|URBAN project.

Amanda King, documentary photo by Peter Larson:×683.jpg


Ms. Hines has also provided an audio recording of her reading her poem.

What do you see through me?

When I look at this picture, I see me…

Is this Black America-

Is this what people see?

I see color surrounding me, yet when I open my eyes, I see Black and White

Whose eyes envision me

Is this what people truly see

A few black kids saluting me

There is so much when you are looking at me

Do you see… a Doctor, a Lawyer, a Physician, a Surgeon, a Software engineer, a Pilot, an Anesthesiologist, or Dentist?

What do you see when your looking at me, through that tiny small window, tell me what it is that you see in me?

Do you see a productive member of society or do you see someone growing up in the projects?

Or do you see the prison walls that surround me, because of the area that’s around me

Does this image tell the truth about me?

Please tell me what it is that YOU see?

What do you see, Red, White…Black and Blue? Or do you see Red, White and Blue? What do these kids represent to you? What does America mean to you?

All colors to me, is what Red, White, and Blue should be.

So, I ask you again, what is it that you see through me?

– Gwennita Hines