1 in 1900: Judy Siria


1 in 1900: Junior Judy Siria

Pencil and paper. The power of those two things can hold is quite remarkable, and junior Judy Siria uses the two to create something new. Previously, Siria was not too fond of English, but now she enjoys her time writing. A couple of years ago, she became interested in writing poetry about racism in our country, as well as in our school.

“I just decided I was going to start writing down how I felt about things and one of them was just racism in a school that is 95 or 97 percent white,” told Siria.

Last year, Siria read one of her poems to 50 of Waukee’s staff members.

“[My friends and I] last year started this diversity awareness thing and basically I just shared a really personal poem that I thought would come across [well] to teachers,” explained Siria.

She became inspired to share her poetry after seeing an Iowan Twitter account called Brave New Voices that posts videos of minority kids reading their own slam poetry.

Siria’s inspiration for her slam poetry comes from a darker part of her life, the years she spent at Waukee in elementary and middle school.

“When I was younger I was bullied for being the only black person, not only in my class but in my grade. [I was bullied for] having a darker complexion, poofy hair, [for] not having blonde hair, straight hair or the European standards because my whole class was caucasian. I was mainly singled out because I was black.” Siria not only finds her past as inspiration but also her fear for her family which she writes about often.

“I have two little sisters and it gets me emotional because I don’t want them to go through what I went through. I want Waukee to be better for them, and for all of the other minorities being bullied, because it’s not just Africans, it’s Hispanics and Arabian people as well.” Siria uses her own story and experiences to hopefully teach others to not make the same mistakes as her peers. She hopes to be recognized as a motivational speaker someday.

Siria plans to go to the University of Iowa after graduating high school. She hopes to major in Political Science or English and minor in Business. Her hopes are set on going to law school after, though she does not know what she’d like to specialize in.

“My main goal is to be a lawyer…” Siria elaborated, “…to speak to schools and students who are my age, even. [To] tell them my experiences growing up, helping them know that they’re not alone and that it does get better–or it can get better, if you have the right people in your life to help you get through it.”

Siria will continue to set an example for her sisters, spread her message, and inspire others. She will share her poetry again when the time is right.