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This I Believe: Superheroes Are Real

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS
Matthew Hill - Springfield High School

We all need a hero. A hero is someone that we hold in high esteem, whether it be because they have superhuman strength or make us feel like superhumans with their kind words. 


Audio File

Springfield High School senior Matthew Hill is one of ten authors chosen for the 2017 This I Believe Illinois essay program. He reads his essay "I Believe Superheroes Are Real."
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We live vicariously through our heroes because they give us the strength to achieve what we thought was impossible. Our heroes remind us of ourselves and show us all that we can be. Little black boys and little black girls need more heroes, this I believe.

As a young boy I can remember racing through my house on Saturday mornings to catch episodes of "The Justice League." "The Justice League" infatuated me because unlike other cartoons that only centered on one superhero, "The Justice League" had a plethora of superheroes! The show featured the likes of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and many other staples of the DC Comics. However, one superhero caught my eye and spurred my imagination. His name was the Green Lantern and he possessed a power ring that gave him incredible abilities such as flight and the ability to use his mind as a weapon rather than his fighting abilities.

While all of these superpowers are amazing and would spark the interest of anyone, one particular characteristic of The Green Lantern was the one that got my attention. This superhero's skin was as darkly complected like me! He had hair that was jet black and tightly curled just as mine! Seeing this representation of a hero at a young age was very influential. DC Comics provided me with more than Saturday morning entertainment. I was provided with the valuable lesson that strong, black men can be superheroes in society.

More important than the superheroes that leap out of the page of your favorite comic book are the superheroes that offer a helpful hand or kind gesture. I believe it is important for young black children to have black role models that will leave a lasting positive influence. This mentor can come in the form of a teacher, police officer or coach. It is so important for children and adolescents to have somebody that can challenge them and evoke a message of hope at a young age. Finding an in-the-flesh superhero is something that can help to change a life forever.

This past summer, Marvel released a television series about superhero "Luke Cage." Cage fought the issues of identity and violence that plague the black community as passionately as he fought evil super villains in his home of Harlem. Throughout the series, Luke Cage's mantra was "Always forward, forward always." As I go forward with my life into college and career I will display the character that I would want others to deem as "hero worthy." You never know who is looking to you to be their superhero, this I believe.

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