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Yecheilyah Ysrayis, or better known on stage as EC, is a poet, book blogger, self-publishing consultant, and multi-award-winning author of Between Slavery and Freedom. EC specializes in Black historical fiction and poetry. She is a native Chicagoan who grew up on the city's south side, and studied technical and professional writing at Chicago State University. Yecheilyah currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and writes and publishes full-time, hoping that her work will contribute to the restoration of Black historical truth for the freedom of all people.


EC's poem was inspired by her home neighborhood on Chicago's south side inspired. In the Robert Taylor Projects, alcohol and drug abuse were pervasive. The presence of young people smoking cigarettes was not unusual.


Although Lil Ray Ray is a made-up character in my poem, he or she serves as a metaphor for kids who died or developed severe health issues from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. In this piece, I plead with the Black community to contribute to breaking the cycle.


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