Local Teen Urges Others to ‘Keep Running’
by Jalissa Bates
A calm spirit was over Erion Davison, author of Keep Running: How to Endure When Life Looks Impossible. The ninthgrade student at Cristo Rey High School offered a soft greeting and then sat primly as she waited for our interview to begin. I sat in awe as I watched my former student who appeared so familiar yet so transformed.
Davison’s book chronicles her walk with God since middle school, including struggles such as an absentee father, self-identity issues, peer pressure, acceptance and identification as a Christian. The wisdom she gained from studying the Word of God
spills from her voice. As a track athlete, Davison compares the rules of track and field to millennial life. On the book cover, the young author is running, clad in a maroon and yellow uniform with Hebrews 12:1 emblazoned on the front. Chapters titled “Sprinting through Relationships” and “Hurdling Over Fears” are testimonies to the common experiences many youths can identify with.
It was humbling to watch Davison, 15, share her testimony in a room full of people at her book release party at the Goodwood Library. As her former teacher, watching her growth was astounding. The bravery shown by this freshman while sharing her private struggles caused everyone to reflect: How could a teenager echo some of the very thoughts I had in similar situations? We were gripped by her tales of trust and mistrust, of success and failure.
Get your copy of the book today at www.visit eriond.org.
The pace of life has picked up during this spring semester for Davison, who is currently on a book tour. “I have been to mostly churches and have kind of ‘preached’ in Plaquemines, Mississippi and Memphis,” Davison said. “In New Orleans, we spoke at the House of Blues recently.”
When asked about the sinking faith of the younger generation, Davison she strongly encourages confidence in oneself to overcome doubt by others. “It’s one thing to show others my book and to tell them about it,” Davison said. “But you must not be afraid to have dreams which may be better than someone else’s dream. You can do it no matter what anyone else has to say about it.”
Davison juggles schoolwork and Cristo Rey’s unique work-study program. With her younger brother, she is also a member of 29:11, a youth group founded by Tremaine Sterling and dedicated to improving the community. Davison’s mother, Angela Bird, says she has witnessed growth in both her children. “29:11 offered my kids the opportunity to understand the Bible better,” Bird said. “Their walk with God is being perfected.” For more information about Davison’s book, visit eriond.org.
Jalissa Bates has taught secondary education in public, private, and charter schools. Bates is an English instructor for LSU and BRCC’s Upward Bound program, a historic federal program for first generation college students. Bates is a member of the National Council for Teachers of English, hosting read-ins to promote AfricanAmerican literature and literacy and serves as Louisiana K-12 Policy Analyst. Bates was selected as a recipient of the 2015 NCTE Early Educator of Color Leadership Award. Bates is a contributing author of Can I Teach That? Negotiating Taboo Language and Controversial Topics in the Language Arts Classroom