LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Two students at Fayette County's Dixie Magnet Elementary School are headed to the national PTA Reflections competition. Each student has crafted a powerful piece embodying the theme of "I Matter Because."
Eleven-year-old Zaria Barber stood proudly in front of her peers, singing her original composition titled "So Many Others."
"Breonna Taylor and so many others... " Barber began to sing as tears ran down her face.
"It's so sad that you either have to be dead or in jail to get the justice that you need, and it's not fair," Barber said through tears. "A lot has happened last year and this year with COVID, and it's just hard."
Those tears of pain quickly turned to tears of joy when finding out "So Many Others" has advanced to the national round of the PTA Reflections competition. She said this year's prompt made her think of the history and struggles of Black and African-American people from the time of slavery to the present day, amplified by the current social justice movement.
Barber said, "Everyone should always have the same rights. No person should be more privileged because in God's eyes we're all the same. We're all His children, so I feel like we should all be treated the same and no differently."
She sings a message of equality, echoed by her schoolmate and fellow national qualifier King El-Amin in his video "Black Boy Joy."
"Black people have been through a lot, so I just wanted to make a poem that could help," El-Amin said of his work.
The 9-year-old said his video and original poem are not just for Black boys and girls but for people everywhere.
"Lots of people all around the world have died, been assassinated, and I'm just like wow everyone in the whole United States, in the world has to be treated the same way," El-Amin said. "If people aren't treated the same, how will we ever have a good life?"
Strong messages with big hope for a better world, and maybe their art can help.
Results of the national competition will be announced on May 1.
Zaria Barber's song "So Many Others" is available for download and streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.