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Thinking Big

TIMES STAFF WRITER

I will eventually become President. In 2017, I think. I’ve figured it out. I don’t want people to think, ‘She’s just a kid. She doesn’t know what’s ahead of her.’ I know the presidency will not come easy to me. I’m black, first of all, and I’m a woman. I want to be a lawyer, then work my way up in politics, become like mayor, then senator, then governor.

I don’t believe in the Pledge of Allegiance. I don’t say it because they’re telling a lie--'liberty and justice for all.’

The judicial process, it’s very wrong, like the case of Latasha Harlins. That judge let the lady go with probation and a $500 fine, and she killed a 15-year-old girl. I believe Anita Hill was telling the truth. But people thought this was a cold-blooded woman going out for blood. Then they thought the woman in the William Kennedy Smith case was ‘too hysterical.’ Women can’t win.

My first step into politics will be mayor. I write lots of letters to Tom Bradley, about things like animal rights. But he just sent me, you know, one of those typed things. I don’t think it’s right.

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(Former Congresswoman) Shirley Chisholm is what I hope to become, only I will make it to the White House. I know people will look into my past and say, ‘Years ago, she did this, she did that, blah, blah blah.’ The worst thing I’ve ever done was to steal two little 5-cent Bazooka gums from a 7-Eleven when I was 9. I don’t think they’ll count that against me. As mayor, the first thing I’d do would be to stop the gang wars. I like L.A., but I don’t like the way it is. There’s too much of this gang stuff, too much prejudice. Sometimes people just expect me to make trouble because I’m ‘one of the black kids.’ Do not label me as anything. Label me as an individual.

Sometimes I’m scared of walking home, scared somebody might drive by and shoot me. I’m scared to go into liquor stores to buy candy and soda. I’m scared I might not come out alive. There’s a woman in South Central handing out flyers that say, ‘Thank you for killing so many black men and women. Sincerely, the Ku Klux Klan.’ She’s doing the right thing. We have to make them realize they’re killing their own. That doesn’t mean black people should go out and kill white people. They just need to stop killing people, period. I’d tell gang members, ‘You’re probably going to end up dead.’ It’s not a happy world out there. It’s not Disneyland.

When I’m President, first I’ll deal with the national issues, then I’ll deal with the states. President Bush listens to the millionaires, that’s all Presidents do. I would never sell out on issues I didn’t believe in. My heroes are Shirley Chisholm, Gwendolyn Brooks, Rosa Parks, my mom. My mom, because she raised me and my sister by herself, while keeping a steady job. I’m very outspoken. I worry about things--sex and rape and stuff like that. Abortion should be legal. What if you’re raped and you come up pregnant and your baby has AIDS? Or you can’t bear to have someone living in you because you don’t know who the father is because you were raped? What if a baby had to suffer for my stupidity, because I didn’t have my partner checked for AIDS? No man should decide what women’s rights should be. If I was raped, I would have an abortion, whether it’s legal or not. A lot of teen-age girls get pregnant. They don’t use a condom, they don’t think about AIDS. They think they’re in love. I’ll never do that. And I’m not going to smoke or drink. Well, I might drink at weddings and stuff.

I believe in God. I believe God lets awful things happen to teach us a lesson. He gave us AIDS to make the doctors think. He wouldn’t give us a disease like AIDS without giving us a cure. He wouldn’t give us drugs if there wasn’t a way to stop them. He wouldn’t give us gangs if there wasn’t a way to stop them. I want everyone to know that some 12-year-olds really do think seriously about the future. I want to be a role model. I’m glad I was born black. I want to tell others, ‘Stay in there because you can do just as much good as any other person.’

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BRANNDI JOHNSON At 12, Branndi Johnson is a philosopher in Guess jeans and braids. She has already charted her course to the Oval Office. The plan includes Cornell University (her mother, Gloria’s, alma mater), law school and a career as a defense attorney.

But she is also a fun-loving youngster who likes rap music, hanging out at the mall with her friends, and movies like “House Party II.” Her parents divorced when she was 2 and she and her mother, who works for scholarship foundation, share a one-bedroom apartment--with two telephone lines.

Branndi, an above-average student, like to read, writes fairy tales for children and sings in the youth choir of the First AME Church.


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