Burbank Middle School student Fatima Menendez has her own ideas about what violence means.
“It’s everything from being impatient in morning traffic, [to] talking back to your elders, and not knowing how to simply apologize,” she says in an essay she submitted to the Do the Write Thing Challenge essay contest.
But the eighth-grader understands the importance of resisting the urge to lash out physically. “Violence is…like poison, it dominates and destroys,” she writes. “We are the United States of America, [and] we need to live up to that name. Stereotypes keep us from flipping the page and seeing past the cover and into the content. We need to looking past stereotypes and really…understand each other.”
Fatima’s thoughts on violence and how it has affected her life have garnered her an invitation to the nation’s capital next week, where she will be recognized along with 49 other students who were named national finalists in the essay competition.
Fatima’s submission was selected from more than 13,000 in the Houston area, about 240 of which were chosen as school finalists and were recognized at a reception on June 1. Fatima is one of only two students from Harris County to be named a national finalist for 2014.
To read her entire essay, please click here (.pdf).