Math Maven Raven Johnson Gives Us: “Lament of a Black Queer Martyr,” and more!

I don’t know you but I am you

A bell ringing out in a desert

So empty even sound doesn’t know where to go

A sundown so strong

Colors that don’t fit in have nowhere to go

We wail out into the desert

And they hear battle cries

We beg the sun to come back

And they hear threats of their demise

We drown in our own blood

And they hear ⎯

They give us slogans

And commercials

And sweatshirts

And 20% off discounts

And rainbow packaging

And black squares as profile pictures

And hashtags

And hashtags

And hashtags

When did my life become nothing but a hashtag

To beg for change

To beg for patronage

They give us peanuts

When we ask for the circus tent to be burned down

They give us laws 80 years too late

While they let us bleed out in a gurney in a hallway like a desert

So empty of feeling no one heard her make a sound

May was a wound breaking open to envelop us all

April was a knife dug in too deep

March was a funeral procession for those who lost breath

February was our time

To be treated just the same, but now

With an extra pat on the back for sticking it out for so long

January was a beginning that looked like every other ending

Punctuated with gun shots and smoke and bombshells and church choirs and dogs barking and whips cracking and waves slapping and

Mothers holding their children

Before they are taken

To new ships

To new nations

To new fields

To new projects

To new schools

To new jails

To new graves

June is when our blood and tears mingle in the dirt to make something new

This world will be something new

Whether they like it or not

You were found today

You were me

I was you

But I can still breathe

I can still breathe

I will breathe

For you

For Tyra Hunter: Inspired by Black America in June 2020, Memoriam by Sadia Hassan

About Raven Johnson

At 22, math maven Raven Johnson became a graduate student in the Computational and Applied Mathematics program at Claremont Graduate University. She has been tutoring students in math since 2017, working at Elite Prep, Upward Bound, and the Port of Los Angeles High School.

A 2018 graduate of Dartmouth College’s Mathematics program, Raven’s goal is to help thousands of students learn to love the subject that she has been passionate about since elementary school.

“My goal is to become a professor and researcher,” shares the LA native, who in her spare time can be found doing Poetry Slams.

In the wake of the George Floyd killing, Raven is passionate about bringing awareness about her experiences growing up black. Coming soon will be a poem that expresses her thoughts.

For now, scroll down to view Raven’s impressive bio.


Claremont Graduate University
September 2019 — December 2020
Candidate for Master of Science in Computational and Applied Mathematics

Dartmouth College
September 2014 – June 2018
Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics


Elite Prep Torrance
Tutor, September 2018 – present
Instruct middle and high school students in general mathematics, including geometry, algebra,
and calculus; Preparing high school juniors and seniors for taking the math section of the SAT

Upward Bound Program at CSU Long Beach
Tutor, July 2018 – May 2019
Prepared high school students for taking their SATs as well as strengthening their ability and
understanding in mathematics, including geometry, algebra, and calculus

Port of Los Angeles High School
Teacher’s Aide, January – March 2017
Guided special needs and general education students in their coursework in mathematics, English, and chemistry

Skills & Interests

  • Languages: English, Basic Spanish
  • Technical: Microsoft Office, C++, R, Matlab
  • Public speaking and performance:
    • Epsilon Kappa Theta, Sorority (2016 – 2018) – Served as Social Chair
    • Soul Scribes, spoken word group (2014 – 2018)