By Cheo Tyehimba

When the principal introduced me to “Akil,” a lazy-eyed 6 year old enrolled in a kindergarten class at Martin Luther King, Jr. elementary school in West Oakland, I knew I’d been gone too long. I’ll never forget him.

“That’s Akil,” said the principal. “He doesn’t speak. It’s not that he’s mute or anything. He just stopped talking. No one has heard him since last year.”
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