Late at night, you stop at a gas station in a suburban neighborhood, where you’ve lived all of your life.

An officer stands by and watches you as you pull the money out of your pocket at the tank.

The officer pulls out his gun.

You throw your hands up and drop yourself to the ground begging the officer not to shoot you.

He shoots you anyways.

Laying on the ground, you think to yourself, “What did I do to end up here?”

You now have the right to remain silent on injustices and to pretend like they don’t exist.

Before you close your eyes forever for the crime of being Black, just know that if this officer is suspended, he will probably get his job back.

There will not be any indictments.

It is a crime to be Black.

It is a crime to have strong opinions, to acknowledge the existence of racism.

It is a crime to be angry about the Black lives being ripped from their community.

Ignoring what we’re born with and born into will not combat this.

Being Black is not a choice.

Let your last words be, “Black Lives Matter.”

My life matters.

Written by Stephanie Younger, a 15-year-old Black student, aspiring computer programmer, poet, writer and a Central Virginia based activist.

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