KANSAS CITY, Mo. — She's too young to vote but hopes to inspire her peers to use their words to help change the nation.
Ashley Cole is a member of the poetry slam team at Blue Springs South High School. She says she was first introduced to the art form in the 6th grade.
"Our teacher had us write a poem based off a famous painting and it was a descriptive poem and that's when I first started loving poetry," Cole said.
Now, the high school junior doesn't shy away from the tough or even controversial topics. In her poem, "The Paradox of the American Immigrant," she speaks of her grandfather who came to the U.S. from South Korea. She explains how it doesn't seem the American dream is meant for minorities or non-white immigrants.
Cole feels it is her responsibility as a poet to use her work to detail her personal experiences and tackle social issues, like immigration and colorism. However, she says at times being both South Korean and African American makes her question her own work.
"I think being mixed I feel a bit like I don't fit into either group really," said Cole. "I feel like it's my place to say these things, but it still isn't my place."
Despite the inner conflict, Cole says it's important for her to shed light on certain issues and encourage her generation to do the same.
"I want them to take away that even though we're not 18 and can vote, we still have a say in these issues," said Cole. "We can still do something about it, even if the only thing we're doing is bringing awareness."
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