In this stunning video, nine-year-old Kayden Hern, Poet Laureate of the 2023 Inaugural Ceremonies for the Governor of New York powerfully recites his poem, which is called “In My Mind.” “In my mind, I used to be a child of poverty not knowing that hopes and dreams can become reality. In my mind, I thought it was fine to sit in the back of the classroom because my teacher never asked me to read or write, but little did she know I was ever so bright. In my mind, I could never understand why they used to call me ashy and black. I always hear being black, living near a railroad track, those are the things that would hold you back. But now I understand why being called ashy and black; black is the color of my skin, so soft beautiful, silky and smooth. In my mind, I used to hear my grandma cry on her knees bowing down, shouting ‘Thank you lord for blessing this house.’ Her cries brought tears to my eyes. Grandma’s cries was thanking God for all his blessings. Now I understand why. In my mind, I heard my ancestors cry. They helped clear the path so others do not have to die. ‘Justice and peace, oh father please help me’ and that’s what I heard in my mind.

Watch video below.