Bronx, New York, United States of America

67 Portraits - May 10, 2018




Our voices are important.

This country needs equality
and to love one another.
Our community needs to change for the good.
Life isn’t easy for everyone.
Nadie vive para siempre.
Life can cause pain and death. And peace.
No matter what color we are, we are still a person.
No matter our race or sex, we are all the same.
Everyone should be equal.

FEAR is the lock,
CONFIDENCE is the key,
DIFFERENCE is the journey.

Here is what we know:
Real moments shouldn’t be filtered
but behind that smile is NOT always happiness.
The world is tough
but someday
this world will make us new again.
If you do good stuff, your future goes on forever.
So, make the best out of life.
Believe what you want to believe.
Forgive, and never forget.

And here is what we want:
- Change the state of education. Now.
- Make college free, even if it’s private.
- Minimum wage should go up. Way up.
- Homeless people should be in shelters.
- Support black-owned businesses.
- Pass stricter gun laws.
- End police brutality.
- Accept gay people or leave.
- Stop racism and sexism and don’t judge people by what they do.

What aggravates us, what really aggravates us,
is when people don’t listen
or understand our point.
Our point is this:

We are loved.
Wǒmen bèi ài.
We are trustworthy. We are loyal.
We are awesome.
Nous sommes tous différents.
We will try our best.
We will always be honest with friends.
And, most importantly,
we love like we’ve never been hurt
because, in the end,
we think it’s all worth it.

Here is what we wish:
We wish for a happy life, cleaner streets,
for our families to have a good future,
and for people of color to rule the country.

We wish for joyous freedom and equality.
We wish for more beautiful life moments,
and for the world to be a better place.

Our wishes sound like an ocean,
screaming of love,
y queremos que se escuche.

Let it be heard.

Community-Word Project teaching artists collaborated with classroom teachers at Bronx Envision Academy to bring the art studio into the classroom. The entire 9th-grade class used their creative voice to tell us that they are “Strong Enough to Carry The Earth!”

Reflection and introspection, voice and self-definition; these are the skills the student artists of Bronx Envision Academy developed in our 24 weeks with them. They combined literature and visual arts practices to create an anthology of poetry and artwork entitled "Strong Enough To Carry The Earth." Our student artists explored sensory and figurative language, line breaks, symbology, reflection, symmetry, self-definition, and voice. They examined the poetry of Sandra Cisneros, Daniel Beaty, Maya Angelou, and Jamaal May. They engaged with the artwork of Emma Amos, Bryan Collier, and symbols from all cultures around the world from the ancient to the modern. They witnessed Maximon Monihan’s film, La voz de los silenciados, and analyzed animated interviews from StoryCorps. Each poet and artist we studied served as an inspiration for our student artists to create their own writing and develop their own visual language as a “symbol of self.” The young artists of Bronx Envision Academy discussed poetry with sophistication and responded to art with complex reflections and individuality. Art in its many forms spoke to these young creatives - this is evident in their brave writing and vibrant artwork.

The ability to define who we are and how we respond to the world is a timeless and powerful skill that will continue to support these brilliant individuals as they develop their voices, always moving forward to “change the world.”

This group action would not have been possible without the relentless commitment of all the students, educators and volunteers. Thank you Nicole Wolf, Danielle Moore, Daniel Burke, Ms. Vega, Mr. Acosta, Tanesha Vaughn, Ms. Bookal, Aleksis Visner, Troy LoCoco, Principal Emily Shu, Michelle Kotler, David King, Leigh Wells, Kely Nascimento-Deluca, Matteo Dix and the team at Inside Out Project for helping us bring out the artists in these young leaders. This project is a testament to what students can create when there is inspired collaboration among dedicated educators, artists, administrators, and community members.

Pamella Allen & Samantha LoCoco 2018