"If anyone has ever told you that you can't do anything then they are liars because you can do anything you set your mind to do, and if you believe this then I'll need you to get up and try again." Words of reassurance, truth, and encouragement spoken clearly by Terrence Martin, a poet who is also this seasons poetry & spoken word teacher for our program "UNSPOKEN WORDS, a voice for homeless youth". We forget the power of words and fail to realize its impact on lives, in due time all that we say and all that we hear may become all that we are. Excuse me as I take a moment to be transparent about things I realized today:
I can honestly say that the more time I spend with these youth, AKA cubbies, the more trust we gain in one another and the more understanding we have of each other. During our sessions we've spoken about the things they see and how they have been perceived by others. We often speak about the misconceptions society has on youth, homelessness, and even more-so on homeless youth. So let's talk about it, why do we assume we know where someone has come from by looking at where they are? Why do we measure our level of "realness" by our ability to speak ebonics? And most of all, why do we fear what we do not know and judge what we think we know? For those who do not know me, I've been where they are. I've been the child who would rather hide her tears than lose her strength, I've been the girl who would rather listen than speak, I've been the young woman unstable in her ways working to reach her goals. It amazes me every time I see the reaction in their face when I say, "For 6 months I was where you are. I was a homeless college student sofa surfing in L.A. holding on to determination and hope. By the grace of God I was blessed with people who opened their doors to me." I do this program for others because I understand never having shared my stories, never having been encouraged to speak out. This is my testimony, correction...this is our testimony.
My heart is moved when hearing their voices read their poetry, and for those who have not yet found the courage to be their own voice their pieces do not go unheard because they become read by another youth. These are not just words placed together to spark emotions from the ears of people listening, nor is the challenge to see how many eloquent words can be placed together in order to receive an abundance of snaps and claps. No, these words are real words. They are unspoken words as lived by, breathed by, and seen in their lives. Each word is a reflection of a moment in time creating a sentence that reveals hidden truth. Those hidden truths become a paragraph of paths in which they are allowing you into their minds. Listen.
If we take time to listen from those often unheard we can learn a lot, we are that family of one. Just take some time to hear melodic thoughts seeped into the hands of the writer and see the color palette on the canvas of their time. Within these four walls there are words that need to be shared along with thoughts that need to be spoken, and I hope you can take this journey with us as we prepare to reveal this years "UNSPOKEN WORDS, a voice for homeless youth".
*Some artwork will be on display April 1 through May 1, 2012 at Overflow Coffee Bar. Stay connected for more details.