WASHINGTON — Seventeen-year-old Ar’Danay Blocker finds solace in writing.
Now, her essay about her neighborhood will be published in a collection of stories from students at Kingsman Academy.
“Losing someone important to you is one of the hardest things to experience in life,” she read from the essay.
But this is more than just a classroom assignment, this is life.
“Will there be blood on my new sneakers? Will there be sunshine on the playground where the kids laugh and play?” she continues to read, “Here’s where it all began. Welcome to Woodland Terrace, Southeast DC.”
Ar’Danay and her 16-year old sister A’Dariea wrote from the heart about violence, their community, and a curfew.
“I think kids should have a curfew,” read A’Dariea from her essay.
“I thought it would get better as my kids got older, they wouldn't experience the things I feel like they're seeing things that I never seen,” said their mother India Blocker-Ford.
DC does have an 11 p.m. curfew for kids under 17. It’s been on the books since 1995. But these young people feel it’s not enforced. And while mom keeps them in the house as often as possible, violence surrounds them.
Karon Brown,11, was killed last summer, their own cousin Gerald a year ago. Both lives lost to the neighborhood streets.
“I'd like to experience something new but know where I came from,” said A’Dariea.
So, while the sisters love where they live, they dream of an escape not only for them but for their community trapped in a cycle of violence.
As for their essays, their teacher will publish them soon. Ar’Danay hopes her essay sends on a strong message.
“Be more caring not just for themselves but people around them too,” she said.