TAMPA, Fla. – A collection of poems by students in Hillsborough and Pasco County is quickly flying of the shelves since its release. 'I am... A Young Black Man' is described as a book of poetry that celebrates Black adolescence.
It was the idea of Executive Director of Gentlemen's Quest Tavis Myrick who wanted to create a platform for young Black men to express themselves amid the social justice movement.
The book is also a strong contender to be featured at the National Poetry Museum.
"Books like this help people realize that our young Black men have a voice," said Myrick of the 31 page book that is accompanied by illustrations of the authors.
"Sometimes when we see police brutality, when we see drugs we think its only affecting adults," he said. "It trickles into our schools and it has an impact on our students academic achievements and their mental health."
Miles Jones is a Strawberry Crest High School student and co-authored the book. I'm smart and athletic, I wonder what the future holds for me," he wrote.
Myrick says students shared some deep thoughts that might be overlooked "There are other students that said that my mother is always pushing me towards my dream. There are other things that people said will I live past 2021."
Jones says he wants to pursue a career in the Aerospace industry.
He is involved in the Gentlemen's Quest of Tampa, a not-for-profit organization founded by Myrick in 2014.
Minority students come to the Center located on East Lake Avenue to get academic support, training and free meals.
Jones says they STEM camp encouraged his career aspirations. "It sparked my curiosity in engineering even more," he said.
While Jones continues to pursue his dream job, his current title as author is one he is celebrating.
Thousands have purchased and have been inspired by his poem and heartfelt words that are helping others find their voice.
The proceeds from the sale of the book will fund a Washington D.C. trip for students during Black History Month.