This is a short clip I took during the event featured in this post. This particular workshop was centered around creating a community mural. The youth were also encouraged to customize their event t-shirts, and this is a small example of the inspiring creativity we saw throughout this event.
Edited by: Patrick Anderson
Song Credit: Citizen Cope – “Let the Drummer Kick”
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
Writing has never been a strong suit (and I am not being modest, folks). But when I started this blog, it quickly became my outlet. Yes, this blog is mainly about food. How a person can talk and relate so much about food is beyond me and probably boring and mindless to many others. But for some reason, to me, it just makes sense. We look at, eat, feel, taste, examine, cook, and think about food every day. It’s something we’ve incorporated into our daily routines without thinking twice about it or appreciating it as much as we should. So for me, just writing about food and my life throughout the week makes me happy, even if it’s not perfect or an ideal way to express my thoughts. And I’ve been reminded recently about how writing and self-expression, in any form, is important for everyone. For me, it’s through my food blog, but more amazingly, for the youth at the event I attended it’s through spoken word.
Although I have been neglecting my blog lately, I have been greatly immersed in a different writing atmosphere elsewhere–and I must share this amazing experience with you! It has little to do with food, but after all, this blog is about life as well, right?! Right.
Last week, I was a part of the Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS) Annual Summit: Know Your Writes. Hosted by the UC Davis School of Education, this event brings over 800 high school and middle school students from schools all over the Sacramento region to receive guidance in spoken word, writing, mentoring, literacy, and youth empowerment. The day-long event concludes with a poetry slam where the top 6 winners get to represent the Capital Region Team and move on to compete in the International Brave New Voices Poetry Slam Competition. The SAYS slogans: “Youth Voices for Social Change” and “School is My Hustle” perfectly describe the goal of the program. This program is geared towards kids who do not feel that higher education is in their future, and it encourages them to see that they truly have the potential to go above and beyond what any adult ever told them they could do.
I got up at 4:30am to get ready to go work at the Summit, and after my tired legs could barely function any longer after running all over campus throughout the day (this is partially my fault for lack of exercise prior to the event!), I went over my task list one last time and walked into the Slam to take a quick peek at what was going on. There, a single spotlight was on a high schooler who was about to recite poetry, and instantly, all my energy was back. This poem was so deep that it brought tears to my eyes within literally 10 seconds of listening to the words. The hope and determination in this student’s voice was entrancing, and the confident message about promising to take a stand and be a better parent than their own parents ever were left me speechless. For that very moment, those powerful sentences, and the positive reaction from the hundreds of youth in the room makes all the effort of the Summit worthwhile.
To touch even just one young adult, to see someone believe that they have the power to overcome any obstacle, to see a kid want to go to college is so inspiring and rewarding. And that is why I have not blogged lately. My time and energy has been going into making this Summit help youth believe that higher education is possible for anyone, regardless of race, gender, region or economic background. And this year’s Summit truly touched my heart. I am still thinking about it and am so honored to be part of such an amazing event. But alas, this annual event is over, and I am able to slowly return to my regular routine. That means more time for blogging!! So, you could say that last week’s main dish for me did have to do with food–food for my soul in the form of spoken word poetry. And every single one of those kids fed my appetite for community, inspiration and genuine talent!
So thanks for hanging tight everyone, it takes a lot for me to put food on the back burner, but it is more than worth it. And now you know why my posts have been scarce lately! But don’t worry, many recipes, stories, and thoughts are coming your way starting: NOW.
For those that are curious, this was the second stage of the community mural (featured in the video clip above). It says: "Know Your Writes 2011" which was this year's theme. I left the event before I could see the end result.