We are taught from a young age how to hide from shooters in school, online we hear stories about shootings near us, we listen to stories from our classmates about their school shooting. We listen and listen but never act. They never teach us what to do when the PTSD happens afterwards, they don't tell us that the reason some shot up our school, is because they are mental unstable. But instead of getting the help WE NEED they only tell us how to hide.
They only tell us how they will prevent the next one, because if guns are available to anyone, there will always be a next one.
I have no idea where I’m “from.” This question should be easy – I’ve lived in Vermont for nearly fifteen years. But when, like me, you define “from” as more than a place – broader than a single pin on a map, or one neat little zipcode – it’s more complicated.
To me, "from" is the idea of origin; nothing to do with birthplace, and everything to do with what shapes our identities. I was born in Arizona, yet my only archetypically southern traits are a propensity to address groups of people as y’all and the strongly held opinion that cornbread should NOT be sweet. This is my birthplace, but is this where I’m from?
When I was less than two, we moved to my grandparents’ home: NY state – not city; (a place is more than its cities, eh Vermont?) Shuttling back and forth between the suburbs and a tiny mountain town. This was my first experience of snow,
Before the performance, the stage is set: a giant 6-foot tall ramp specifically designed for the group, with two wheelchairs stacked atop each other like orbs. The background is dark, with dozens of stars and comets. It feels like the audience is staring straight at the Milky Way. The performance begins and the audience is confused. The performance is about two dancers who use wheelchairs- we had expected them to be in the wheelchairs the whole time, and move around with them. Instead, the dancers start without the chairs. They move around on the ramp, rolling, tumbling, sometimes perching on their knees or feet lightly. Their arm movements are the most expressive- wide, lyrical, sad and otherworldly.
The background gives the feeling that the story takes place somewhere between, or in, the star-filled sky and ebbing waves.
On Wednesday, October 30th, I had the pleasure of seeing a performance of Kinetic Light: Descent at the Flynn Center for Performing Arts. The show is choreographed and danced solely by Alice Sheppard and Laurel Lawson. The audience watches as these two women perform incredible feats of strength and discipline despite physical adversity; ultimately shattering prior notions and assumptions of people who live with disabilities.
Think about the world you see when you close your eyes, and tell me, what scares you? - Inkpaw
What scares me is that many people with the highest power can't seem to use it properly, and eventually our world will all come falling down. - Graceful
Everyone who knows that climate change is real... but don't care. That don't get that we will all die, rich, poor, white, black, rainbow. If we don't educate and spread the word there will be nothing left to fear. - fire girl
A coin from a rich man, A successful man, flutters into my jar, A man with rich parents and wealthy uncles. I served in the war. Almost lost the spark of life. I came home a hero, bound to a wheelchair. Impaired, I lost everything. No home. No family. None.
I am an egg. The world, a giant wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
No matter how hard I try, No matter how badly I believe, I am stuck. I am stuck in the cloud of poverty. No food. A vulture.
I am in a cloud, All while these self-indulging businessmen With rich homes And pretty wives Bask in a life of luxury.
They are birds Soaring through the airs of success, Born into a world of wealth, everything handed To them on a silver platter.
“Why me?” I whisper to myself, Alone in this dark alley, With only the patter of rain for company.
How is it that we’ve achieved consciousness in so few realms? We fail to welcome Mother Nature’s intentions.
I dream of a world in which ALL coexist: creature with creature, plant with plant, corporation with corporation, corporation with land and creature, and all possible combinations of the above listed.
We’ve stolen land and dignity from indigenous people –– the wise teachers. They know it is important to LOVE –– and are facing karma.
How is it that we have become so ignorant and self-absorbed that Mother’s role is no longer applicable to our toy-plastic-world? Her walls keep giving even with nothing in return. They protect us, nurture us, take care of us when our body needs healing, and can provide us with the sweetest solitude.
And yet, we push her away.
–– we regurgitate her fruits if not waste them completely
Every month, in The Voice and in newspapers around Vermont, Young Writers Project highlights the writing, photos, and art that are responses to the Community Journalism Project (CJP), YWP's new project that inspires and shares your voices on issues that matter to you.
This month, we feature the challenge: CJP-Climate1: Is anyone listening? Send an urgent message about climate change so people will sit up and pay attention.
THE CHALLENGE: CPJ-Immigrant: Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said in an interview that Emma Lazarus’s words on the Statue of Liberty should read, “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” If you could respond directly to Cuccinelli, what would you say?
home. where you belong, usually. where you go to school, to work if you're lucky. where you make friends and meet up with them.
i do that. i meet up with my friends at cafe 49 on main street. i go to school just minutes from my house if i ride my bike, less if i drive. i work an even shorter distance away.
i've got friends on my street, ones that will come out of their house to pet my dog. i know my neighbors well; mrs. jan to my left, mrs. joyce to my right. i know the roads better and have never gotten lost. it's easy for me to go miles on my bike without even realizing how far i've went.
it's nice, my hometown. the middle of the county. 40 minutes away from a too-big city and less from the countryside. we don't have too much crime and it's quiet.
new york is a nice state, if you're not in the city. syracuse? nah. nyc? nah x2. buffalo? nah x3.
Burlington is a limbo between herds of people scurrying along the streets of downtown, and calm moments watching the sunset at the waterfront; a tight-knit community with an underlying tone of worldwide connection.
1. Heart on telephone pole on South Union St 2. Flower on tree at Oakledge Park 3. "Friends like these" on the wall at Maglianero Cafe 4. View of lake and mountains from Champlain College library parking lot 5. Face on train across from A_Dog Skatepark 6. View of clouds from the intersection of North St and North Winooski St 7. Democracy sign in the Courthouse Plaza 8. Back of Barrio Bakery 9. Chittenden Superior Court 10. ECHO 11. Boathouse at waterfront 12. Sunset from waterfront baordwalk
Each week, on the YWP site, we introduce new challenges to this list. To distinguish them from YWP's regular weekly challenges, we have given them a "CJP" designation for the Community Journalism Project. The Challenges are ordered by the month they appear on the front page of the site, butyou can respond to any of these challenges any time through the year! Pick your favorites and write to be published in the YWP newspaper series and in The Voice!CHALLENGES:
CJP-Day: Document one day of your "social distancing" life in photos. Make a slideshow on your blog: Add Media > Advanced upload. Add words if you like.
WRITING ON THE ROOF is YWP's series of freewriting workshops in the rooftop conference room of the Karma Bird House (YWP's home base), 47 Maple Street, Burlington, VT. More info here
VOICES FOR CHANGEis a social justice initiative led by a group of YWP writers, and anyone is welcome to join! This youth-led program builds leadership, collaboration and audiences for you to advocate for positive change through writing and art, spoken word and publication. Writing workshops and open mic events are held throughout the year freeat Burlington City Arts, 135 Church St., Burlington. More info here