A Tale of Two Rosmany’s: What You May Not See: A Profile of Rosmany Placeres  

 

 

“We’re not gonna end up good because of Trump! Like, it’s gonna be World War III”. In 2017, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. It was a considerable turning point for half of the population of America. Hate crimes, unjust laws, oppression and nuclear threats now plague the U.S. Quite frankly, I was expecting this to happen. I was prepared to be anyone’s hero if needed. Rosmany noticeably felt strongly about this subject and politics. Wanting to follow-up on the question, I asked about how she contributed to society. Her face converted into one of confusion after hearing the question so I elaborated. I wanted to know how she gave back to society, whether that was doing volunteer work or something she thought was considered giving back. A look of realization dawned on her, and I was amazed by her answer. She said she wasn’t a bystander when it came to racism or discrimination. If she saw it, she would say something about it and I knew then and there that we shared the same mentality. None of what would come from Trump would be left unnoticed.  At the beginning of the interview, I thought that Rosmany wouldn’t have any interest in politics based on her age, she had other things to focus on such as her friends and school work. That was false. She was an activist under her cool, laid back exterior; a revolutionary in the making.

Rosmany Placeres is a sixteen year old girl, born on June 2nd of 2001. She is of Dominican descent that enjoys basketball and volleyball. I couldn’t help the clamminess I felt that day due to the humid air in the classroom. I was feeling a bit uncomfortable but still smiled through it to make my interviewee comfortable. I skimmed over the interview questions. I wasn’t entirely prepared when came to the questions I wanted to ask. I was initially winging it with the interview (like I do with most things). Then a lightbulb went off, biographical information! “What’s your family like? Is it big or small?” I asked. A smile broke out onto her face “They’re big.” She said, and then broke into a fit of breathy giggles, I couldn't help but to be captured into the infectious laughter. That’s when I decided I wanted to dig deeper, I wanted her to open up not to only me but also herself. I asked her about people's perceptions of her that aren’t necessarily true. People are judging you no matter what, whether those judgements apply to you or not. She then went on to say that people assume that she’s some kind of tyrant just based off her facial expressions but under that tough exterior she’s shy just like anyone else. That led me to think that maybe because of her physical appearance,  I didn't assume that she would be the person I was currently unfolding for this interview. I didn’t think that underneath the Nike sweater and black jeans there would be the next Angela Davis.

A quietness then surrounded us, I wanted to know Rosmany and more about her views on society, I wondered how she felt and I itched for answers. It was expected that she may have encountered some form of racism in her lifetime, so I asked about that.  As I listened for her answer, I studied her face (not in a creepy way… I hope).I never noticed she had a nose ring or that the ends of her hair was brown. It both suited her exceptionally. I wondered if the nose ring hurt when she got it and I was thinking about getting one too.  She took a deep breath and straightened her back, her fingers then intertwined themselves unconsciously. “White people, they’ve been racist towards me.” She took another deep breath but this time shook her head, as if that was something she'd become accustomed to but not necessarily proud of. “There was this one time I was on the train there was this white girl sitting down. I went to sit down and she moved. She sat next to somebody that was not my skintone.” While she recalled this memory I made sure to listen intently, I couldn’t count the times where the same thing happened to myself. Her voice then cracked, “I’ve been through racism, but I would never do that to someone else, just because they do it to me.”

She had armor, that was something I concluded after hearing her experiences. She looked out the window, the sunlight highlighting certain focal points of her face. I could see  something swirling in her eyes, I would never know what it is was because I didn’t ask but I knew she was recollecting a memory; a memory that sparked something. I told my friends, “Don’t make fun her because she’s Muslim, I wouldn't want someone to discriminate against me because i'm Catholic.” She would not be silenced in the face of oppression, that’s something I learned after I asked her how she stuck up against discrimination. I then bring up a topic from our 10th grade english class taught by Sean. Colorism. Her quick replies when asked about colorism suggested that this was an issue she openly speaks out about, this will not fly with her. “Oh yeah!” She yells, “Yeah, the light skin ones think they’re good, cute, got money but the black darkskin ones are seen crackheads. Assumingly carries guns, seen as dangerous and would never make it in life.” I nod my head accordingly to each characteristic she lists off, everything she was saying held truth behind it. Her words held a purpose, she knew what she was talking about and she didn’t seem to thrilled about it.

“I can be black and make it in life.” She said as we ended the interview. I believed every word of that sentence. These are the words of Rosmany Placeres, a student at Academy for Young Writers. When you see her in the halls, dark locks flowing cooly behind her with a bright smile, know she is more than a student. She is Angela Davis, not silenced in the face of oppression. She is Rosa Parks, persistent and knows what’s right. She is a revolutionary, she will fight on others behalf in the name of equality.