June: Why Community Creative Fellows?
I am lucky to work with a group of youth who are changing and preserving their communities through storytelling. They are stories that rip us apart and stories that heal the wounds. I am reminded every day that art is critical for learning, teaching, surviving and growth. In our own community, we live among youth and elders who have had to fight decades for the right to exist. Those stories bring us hope and resilience. Together we have created a space where words matter and with the creativity of our own experiences, poetry has been an element in the way young people in Tucson, AZ have access to addressing inequities. We are always searching for ways to navigate the issues here and to use poetry in our unique way. In 2010, the state of Arizona banned Ethnic Studies (HB2281) along with a slew of repressive legislation. We have used poetry to study our culture and to share our knowledge with others in the city, state and nationally. We want to think about how we can focus in on what knowledge youth are now being excluded from and use this art form to keep it circulating in our city.
The Community Creative Fellows program came along at a time when thinking through this project was getting underway. I believe being among others doing work in similar veins helps a process develop and grow. Having a structured process becomes incredibly important because many of us are extraordinarily involved in several aspects of a handful of projects at any given time! To have an organization that can share their knowledge about creative communities and offer time and space to be with each other--it's remarkable. I look forward to all the possibilities that may grow out of the experience and I am grateful to the program for holding that space where it is all going to happen.