Story and photo of Anthony Hawkins by Carley Dunson

One day while Anthony Hawkins was in gym class, a girl approached him and threw a basketball at his head. The other kids laughed while he cried.

Hawkins was being bullied often during that time. Kids would talk about how he dressed. He says that he never told a teacher or an adult. Additionally, he was in many fights because of his anger, often breaking something or hitting somebody.

“Being bullied is not fun; it scars you for life,” Hawkins says.

Now 18, Hawkins is the third child in his family. His childhood was very rough because of his family’s separation due to the death of his great-grandmother.

The person who inspires Hawkins the most is his older sister, Robin, who helped him get over mental and physical abuse. When his father kicked him out after the two of them got into a fistfight, Robin was the one who took him in.

“Being kicked out hurt me but it changed me, because my sister is the only one who cares for me,” he says.

The two others who inspire Hawkins are scholar and activist W. E. B. Du Bois and Ben Carson, a member of the Trump administration and a former brain surgeon. “Underdogs” is the term he uses for them because of their successes in life, although they had what many consider to be unlikely odds.

His favorite quote is from W.E.B. Du Bois: “Believe in life! Always human beings will live and progress to greater, broader, and fuller life.”

A great conversationalist, Hawkins is interested in a rich variety of topics, from Eastern spirituality, to politics to brain science.

Hawkins attended Power APAC Elementary School and Whitten Middle School in Jackson. He is now an upcoming senior and student athlete at Jim Hill High School, participating in cross country. He is also a member of the Biology Soar Program, through which Hawkins can have the opportunity to receive scholarships.

One of Hawkins’ overall goals is to leave a mark and make a difference in his community. While attending the Youth Media Project, he hopes to get better at podcasts and music production, as well as become “a better communicator,” along with improving his mannerisms.

 Carley Dunson is a sophomore at Murrah High School and a member of the 2018 Mississippi Youth Media Project.