Wes would rather admire his sneaker collection than march in a protest with his activist parents. But the activism becomes personal when gentrification threatens his own neighborhood. Wes must find a way to save his community or he and his neighbors will be forced out of their homes for good.
I spent the morning of my eleventh birthday in burning summer heat carrying a sign that read, “We Were Here First!”
They’re so many other things I could have been doing on my birthday but there I was marching in what Mom kept calling a “peaceful protest.” I was the only kid, as usual. I had no chance of blending in with the sea of old ladies. Mom didn’t like me calling the ladies old, but they were old.
I walked a few steps behind Mom, ducking behind my sign as cars sped by. No way was I going to be spotted by my classmates. School was out for the summer but I couldn’t be too careful.
It was a thousand degrees outside and my favorite Carolina blue t-shirt was sticky, wet, and clung to my chest. It didn’t even match my Nike AirMax anymore. My kicks were now dusty and barely blue. That was my fault though; I should have never worn my good stuff to trample through dirt.
“Wes, hold the sign up straight and uncover your face,” Mom said.
“Come on, Mom it’s hot and I’m thirsty.”
“Don’t back talk me!”
I knew better than to talk back but it was too hot for manners. I wiped the sweat from my forehead. What time is it? We’d been marching for hours. My mouth ached for a drop of water.
I slowed down a little and swallowed a glob of spit to wet my throat.
It didn’t help.