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Making Black History: Kenya Burton

At SUHSD, we’re celebrating Black History Month by paying tribute to Black History Makers from our very own district community!

Meet Kenya Burton – an award-winning poet, an awardee of the New York Silver Key in Writing, and the 2021 Salinas Youth Poet Laureate – among many other titles she holds. As a 2018 graduate of Everett Alvarez High School, Kenya is a proud Salinas Union High School District alumni. Currently, she is a Sacramento State honor student pursuing a degree in communication studies with a minor in marketing and nonprofit administration, focusing on systemic change for at-risk communities; Sacramento State has recognized Kenya with the CSU Trustee Award, the highest award in the CSU system for people who have made a difference in their community and have high academic standing.  Her proudest accomplishment is being named the district appointee for the Monterey County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, where she worked with agencies to help survivors of domestic violence.

In her poetry and writing, Kenya tackles different themes around racism, classism, and sexism in America. Through her work, she has strived to empower others, especially youth and minorities, to share their voices and struggles to connect with and uplift one another. Kenya has dedicated much of her career to giving back to the next generation of Salinas youth, but as an upcoming university graduate, she plans to grow strong roots in Sacramento to be able to uplift, inspire, and empower youth and minorities at the state level. Specifically, she hopes to one day open a nonprofit to help women and children escape the same violence she once endured. 

Kenya is equally proud of both her Mexican and Black ethnicity and also expresses a great deal of pride for her hometown, Salinas. “Thank you to Salinas for feeding the world and feeding my soul. Every achievement I always trace back to you.” 

We are so proud of the work Kenya has done for her community, and are excited to celebrate her history this Black History Month!