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DSST: College View HS Speaks! CafĂŠ Cultura Community Speaks Project #26 Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series


DSST: College View HS Speaks! Copyright Š 2015 by Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the author.


To the incredibly intelligent students in our Spoken Word class...Continue believing in yourself and your ability to use your voices to uplift our families and communities #CafeCultura #XpressYourself #TellingOurStories


Acknowledgments Thank you to the staff at DSST College View High School for offering us the opportunity to work with your 9 th graders, as we provide spaces for them to become powerful. Special shout out to all the amazing students in our class for pushing yourselves to another level of critical thinking and creativity. Remember: “It is our responsibility and choice to express ourselves and lift our voice, together building unity, leaders in our community. This is how we tell our stooorrrryyyy!�


Foreword It was a privilege for Café Cultura to be part of the first offering of electives as DSST College View High School opened its doors. We enjoyed implementing our “Telling Our Stories” curriculum while forming relationships with the 9th graders in our class. Their brilliance shined every day as they analyzed poetry and drafted their own spoken word. This book offers a glimpse into their varying experiences and worldviews. We are confident that these youth will stay connected to Café Cultura while taking leadership in their communities. Enjoy and share their words! For those who do not know about our organization: Café Cultura is an award-winning arts, culture, and youth development organization in Denver that promotes unity and healing among Indigenous peoples through creative expression while empowering youth to find their voice, reclaim oral and written traditions, and become leaders in their communities. Café Cultura has been providing positive, creative, and engaging community spaces for the Denver metropolitan area for more than ten years. After the passing of respected elder and veteran poet Abelardo “Lalo” Delgado, we accepted responsibility to continue using our oral and written traditions to provide opportunities for creative expression often not offered in schools or in the larger community. Café Cultura also drew inspiration from the movement connecting Indigenous people from throughout the Americas. We use creative expression to unify people representing southern Indigenous nations, known by terms such as “Chicana/o” and “Latina/o,” with those Natives of northern nations, referred to as “American Indian” or “Native American.” Café Cultura hosts one of the best open mic venues in the Denver metropolitan area, and the only space focused on family and youth. We also conduct highly engaging and culturally relevant spoken word/poetry workshops for underserved youth through-


out Colorado. CafĂŠ Cultura partners with select organizations and schools to facilitate an intensive workshop series, publish youth poetry, and organize participant showcases. In an effort to develop young leaders within our community, we also coordinate a youth leadership program for Indigenous youth. If you or your organization is interested in collaborating, feel free to contact us. For more information about our open mic events, workshops, youth leadership program, and other programs: info@cafecultura.org 720-394-6589 www.cafecultura.org


Table of Contents It Is Me by Diego ...................................................................................1 Success on the Soccer Field by Marvin ...............................................2 Power by Grecia .....................................................................................3 Picture It by Devin.................................................................................4 I Am Native American by Tywania .....................................................5 Growing Up by Matthew ......................................................................8 Running Through Life by Maria ..........................................................9 Remember by Jose .............................................................................. 10 Light by Marsela .................................................................................. 11 Soccer by Zoet ..................................................................................... 12 A Better Tomorrow by Eduardo ...................................................... 13 Finding My Way by Irvin ................................................................... 15 Life of a Rose by Miranda.................................................................. 16 Skating Through Life by Stephen ..................................................... 17 It Is Time by Devin ............................................................................ 18 I Am by Matthew ................................................................................ 19 Bring Back the Past by Tywania........................................................ 21 Inspirational by Marvin ...................................................................... 24 Recipe for Success by Diego ............................................................. 26 Me by Grecia........................................................................................ 27 A Place by Maria ................................................................................. 29 Desire by Zoet ..................................................................................... 30 Not Just a Game by Eduardo ............................................................ 31


The Person Inside by Marsela............................................................ 32 Push by Jose ......................................................................................... 33 My Thoughts by Irvin ......................................................................... 34 Achievement by Matthew................................................................... 36 Fight by Tywania ................................................................................. 37 Hoops by Grecia.................................................................................. 40 I Am by Marvin ................................................................................... 41 Part of Me by Devin............................................................................ 42 Will by Maria ........................................................................................ 43 Letter to the Future Me by Diego ..................................................... 44 Appreciate by Miranda........................................................................ 45 Leave? by Eduardo .............................................................................. 46


It Is Me by Diego The posole my mom makes will always bring everyone together. It takes time and a lot of love. Without love, her posole would not stand out like it always does, as some of the best. She shows her love and dedication by waking up before the sun to prepare us a delicious bowl. I come from one of the hardest working women I know, my mom. She has given up so much just so we can have what we need. She encourages me to finish school. Every time I do something, I do it to make her proud. Every time I see pictures of people graduating, I get inspired. I know I will be there in the near future. My parents believe I can reach that goal and so do I. I will be the first to lead the way for my siblings. With every step I take, I will make a path for those I love.


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Success on the Soccer Field by Marvin In this soccer game of life, you try to make a goal and succeed. At the same time, there are people trying to prevent it. There is a role for me in the back, seeing the whole field and the life ahead of me. Being a captain, I take responsibility as a leader. Soccer elevates me, as I do not worry about anything else on this obstacle course. You may get tired and sometimes fall. But you have to stand back up, just like in life. You get chances to pick yourself up. There is always a way to succeed. When you score, it is the best feeling ever. It is just like the feeling you will get when you succeed, being happy with who you have become. For me, success means graduating from college and then, getting a family started.


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

Power by Grecia Through my eyes, we are people. We are dark, white, brown, but we are all the same. Every citizen is stuck in the idea that we are aliens or we do not belong here. We get separated from our families, but they do not care. We get treated like animals that they cannot let out of the cage because we might do harm. In reality, they are the ones committing crimes, separating families, and giving unjust sentences. We need to have papers to come here. Why? Our ancestors lived in this world at the same time yours did. We deserve the right to live here, have opportunities, get an education, and have a good job. We deserve to be respected, to be treated equally. Obama did something good for us Mexicans. It is now our responsibility to do even more.

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Picture It by Devin Every day, people go on with their lives to make it something great. But you also make mistakes and that is nothing to hate. See, life is like a picture, it eventually falls into place. Once in a while, people want to erase, erase the mistakes when bad things take place. But it is all a part of the picture to create a better image. Your picture is what you make it. So, make it something beautiful because wasting your life is utterly pitiful. You can do anything, you just need to have patience. Life is like a picture, it all falls into place. You have the ability and you have the creativity. So create a better image with the life you are given. You can do great things. You just need to put your mind to it. You can go down a righteous path. You just need choose it.


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

I Am Native American by Tywania I am Native American and I come from a large community full of brothers and sisters. I look in the mirror and see a warrior ready to fight for what is right. I belong to the red and white mesas that surround me in my sleep. I dream of the past, as my ancestors suffered through misery and pain caused by the new-comers who we knew little about. I hear my ancestors’ cries of sorrow from the wounds they inflicted, coloring their brown skin red. They showed us how little they cared. I know this by the many stories that have been passed down from generation to generation in shi hoogan by my chee. I was even told of the large land that we once had way before it was taken by the Naakáí and Bilagáanas. Before, our land spread across the four corners Ha’a’aah Shádi’ááh

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E’e’aah Náhookos The sacred ruins can prove my point. While the heat tans my brown skin, I begin to blend into the red mesas. As I stand at the cliff with the cool breeze pulling my hair back, it reminds me of how the eagles flew across Shizhé'é’s light blue skin as he looks down upon Shimá, who holds me in her arms never letting go. I might fly away. Soon, I will become a real warrior, the next one in my family with turquoise wrapped around my neck and wrists, my hair tied up into a Tsiiyeel, my eyes looking up at the dark skies that are brightened by the several suns and a full moon, while the coyotes howl in the distance. I am the beating drum that blends with the pounding feet that hit the burning soft light brown ground as singing voices echo throughout the bare land. All known people surround all kinds of dancers who praise the lord in their beautiful swaying moves. That shows the image of a new generation afoot, a new time, a brand new start. I will always remember the light touch of juice


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

that slowly drips down the dark meat from the first bite. I can still smell mutton expand across my homeland. The sounds of laughter echo through my ears of my family, grandmas, grandpa, uncles, aunts, and so on. As they laugh, I can also hear the sounds of the fire crackling underneath the handmade rock stove that sits outside under a nearby tree. This is where the butchering began. It has always been in our small village of the Hollys. I belong to my nation, fore I am a Dine and a strong warrior. I grasp my language in my hands, never letting go. If I do, I will lose everything that I am. Even if I am hundreds of miles away from home, I will always remember who I am. I belong to the Water Edge clan and the Coyote clan. This is who I am and this is who I will always be. No one can take me away from what I am. No matter what happens, I will always remember that I am a Native American, a Navajo! Ah Êhee’!

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Growing Up by Matthew You always have to be there for them, setting the example. You are the role model and they are the shadow. They follow all your steps. You want the best for them, so you have to make the path with your hard work and dedication. If they fail in life and do not know to get back up, that is all on you, because you have to be there for them. People will not tell you, but you know inside. It is a feeling you do not want to experience. It may seem annoying that they copy you in everything, but take it as a blessing that they want to be like you. Make them a better you.


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

Running Through Life by Maria The heavy footsteps of my feet pound the sidewalk. The dust my shoes kick up spreads over the sidewalk. The feeling of not being able to breathe comes over you, as if someone were crushing your lungs. You want to stop, to stop all the pain. You run like your life depends on it because in reality, it does. See, in this world, we have learned to keep our thoughts to ourselves and say what society thinks is right. Their words become holes and cracks in our way, trying to bring us down. We trip and fall, realizing it was all part of their game to make us fail. In the end, we get back up and realize the cracks were just in our heads, just like their expectations.

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Remember by Jose I will always remember the altar my dad has in the living room for everyone to see. It holds the pictures and candles in tribute to the family members who have passed. It holds memories, good and bad for my dad. I am the toasty warm taco, carne hugged by a tortilla. The smell reminds me of my dad, always asking my mom to make tortillas. I come from a recipe hundreds of years old, reminding me of my ancestors struggling to harvest corn and getting the meat needed to make such a delicious creation. I will always remember the warm chewy sensations coming from the tortilla. I am a son of immigrants and come from the dreams of my parents. I look in the mirror and see a reflection of my parents’ sacrifice. In my dreams, I imagine their struggles turning into a better future.


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

Light by Marsela You walk up the hill with nothing left to lead you, no one left to speak to, nothing left to see, but your own light. The brightness shows through the darkness of your past, leaving you reminiscing about what could have been, what you could have seen, what you could have had. Through the true depths, there is nothing left to change but what is left to come, what your eyes are waiting to see, what your body is waiting to feel. When the moment comes to open your eyes from what is not true and what you cannot change, your true potential will show. Your life will begin and the new you will be created.

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Soccer by Zoet Soccer is life. You have to prepare well and stretch before you play. Doing well in school will help you later in life. People will always try to steal what is yours, on and off the field. You have to learn to trust others and pass the ball so that everyone benefits. Dribble the ball passed your obstacles. You have to take back what is yours when someone else has it. There will be success and failure, but you have to power through. Know when to try your hardest and when to let others have a chance. I am dribbling my way through the field of life trying to graduate high school, get into college, and become successful.


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

A Better Tomorrow by Eduardo I wish I came from the place that can be recognized with the eagle and snake, but I was born in the land of the free. I have only seen Mexico once, but I will see it twice. It is the place where I can learn about my family tree and those I have lost and seen. I have been there with a young mind, but now, I will see it with my new eyes. But now I am here, where I can possibly serve as a ticket to a better life for my family, giving the youngest sibling more than just the struggles my mother went through. Still, I am someone who wants to find friends and bring peace. Listening to music cools my fire of hatred and depression, something I want to avoid in my journey up the mountain. I play video games to challenge my mind and have a good time, but my favorite part in my life is God. Even if I make a mistake,

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I know he will help me get through and redeem myself. In the end, I want good to come to everyone. I want good to come to the world. I can be a part of that change.


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Finding My Way by Irvin I have been going down the wrong road for most of my life. I made choices that affected me as a person. I used to ditch school just to smoke that stress weed. I drank alcohol when I was in 6th grade and now, I cannot play sports because of my heart problems. My mother does not even know that I have done all this. I can imagine that she would have a broken heart that nobody could heal. To this day, I struggle to make changes and now, I am trying to go to college. I wish I never did those things in the past. I was acting older than I was. I should of acted my age and try to make my mother proud. My mother did her best earning minimum wage, but I am such a bad example. She does not even know it. I promise to show her my future accomplishments and try to change my life before it is too late.

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Life of a Rose by Miranda A rose starts life in heavy dirt, trying to reach space, even if it is a million miles away. It tries to figure out, who am I or who I am supposed to be. I feel good where I grow, so I need to make the growth grow in me. I try not to think of the pain. I am smiling every day. My strength is growing from the rainy days if I put myself in a good position. Then, all my dreams will come true and I will not have to be wishing. So the rose of the life does not ever stop shining bright. The dirt does not win the battles the roots come and grow, grow until you see that beautiful rose. My rose in my heart only shines in the darkness, but when it sees the sun, then that is where I will show my love. Every day a petal falls off, but that is okay. I know I can still go on even if my body is incomplete. Nobody knows my fears, but when I do face them, they all just disappear.


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

Skating Through Life by Stephen When you are alive, you have to do what you love to occupy your mind. Life is like skateboarding. When you fall, you get back up and do it again. I spend my days on my board cruising around with my friends. You break boards and break bones, but learn from your mistakes. You fly through time with nothing on your mind. There is no stopping us as we skate through this life. People try to hold you back but you find a way around. Trick after trick, you keep on upping yourself. You improve every day. not letting your body shut down and die. You rise!

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It Is Time by Devin Life has some issues so here is a tissue. Actually, not this time because here is a rhyme about how people cannot find the time to be kind. But they can kick back and get high with no problems in mind, putting everything aside. But in time, they will realize that life is about pride and how one's heart must reside within the walls of one’s mind. For it is time to be kind to the people in our lives so when we are behind, we can find the light that foolishness denies. Our lives will be purified with the kindness and pride that has driven our lives clear of selfishness and lies. To attain all this greatness, it must all start with you and who you are inside.


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I Am by Matthew I come from thousands of years of hard work and dedication to accomplish something wonderful. I will always remember that it was not easy for my ancestors who sacrificed for us to have everything we have now. I will always respect and care about them. I am connected to them by my dad’s discipline. I come from the stories of hope, joy, and hard work. I will always remember the stories of Guadalajara and my mom saying Tijuana is better. I am made up of my dad’s wisdom and bravery. I come from many years of struggle to succeed. I will always remember the hard work my mom and dad put into me and my brother to be successful. My dad and mom always tell me to study in school so I can be more successful than them. They have handed me my future. I will never forget that my parents work hard

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for me to be where I am. I do not want to disappoint. I am made of all the positivity they provide in my life. I come from hard work and dedication to win. I will always remember that you have to practice before trying to achieve your goal. This sport, like another language, connects millions of people. I am a Mexican who enjoys homemade meals. I come from years of hard work to create something beautiful, making taste buds dance. I will always remember the dedication it takes to make soft and chewy tacos. With every day that passes, a new recipe is given birth. Nothing will ever last the same as my grandmother's tortillas. I hope to be just as strong.


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

Bring Back the Past by Tywania In 1864, my people were thrown off their land and had to travel on foot 300 miles to Fort Sumner while the Bilagáanas rode on their horse the whole way! My people suffered through the Long Walk and we still suffer now. People who have thrown my culture aside now tell me to learn a new one, focusing only on their language and culture, saying mine is unimportant. LOOK AT ME AND TELL ME THAT IN MY FACE!! No one tells me to get rid of my culture! My people’s language is already going extinct because those Bilagáanas took it away, telling us and forcing us to speak English. Have you felt the long sharp steel wire whipped against you bottom after speaking your language? My people have. I can feel their pain, the suffering! Close your eyes and imagine that you are walking with my people, more than 9,000 men, women, and children walking in front of you, behind you,

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beside you. Imagine many of the young children and elders complaining of the pain, many falling on the ground exhausted and dying. So many of those people were children, babies dying from the tragic heat and cold night! Do you see it? Tell me you see it, because I do. I may not have been there that day, but my ancestors’ blood flows through my veins. They help me see that day. They help me feel their pain! When the treaty was made in 1868 between us and the Bilagåanas, we were given education, but there was a catch. We were not allowed to speak Navajo. That hurt our culture so bad. Although we can speak it now, we still struggle to know our language. Like the ones who learn it from childhood and keep it until they get older, I was lucky. Now I stand higher than the sky, with every day passing. Every day I get older, I mover higher and higher, looking up at a dream that I hope, no,


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

that will come true. I pray every day with no one looking, the same prayer that I learned and the same prayer that I teach others. Pray with me: “Hózhóogo naasháa doo Shitsijí’ hózhóogo naasháa doo Shikéédéé hózhóogo naasháa doo Shideigi hózhóogo naasháa doo T’áá altso shinaagóó hózhóogo naasháa doo Hózhó náhásdlíí’ Hózhó náhásdlíí’ Hózhó náhásdlíí’ Hózhó náhásdlíí’” “In beauty I walk With beauty before we walk With beauty behind we walk With beauty above we walk With beauty around we walk It has become beauty again” Amen

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Inspirational by Marvin I remember myself a couple years ago, with some older friends just hanging out. We had been playing football during a hot summer. When we went to another place, it all began. We smoked weed. I did the same every week after that for 2 months. I saw its effects on me. I tried it and liked it. I used it every other week. I remember coming home really dizzy, my mom always sniffing me like an anteater searches for ants. One day, my sister woke up and told my mom that I had been smoking. Soccer had gotten harder for me. I tried stopping but I could not, until 2 months ago. I stopped, I had to because then, I would become an addict and soon get caught. The only reason I had smoked was to make my problems at home disappear. Someone close one told me, smoking does not solve problems,


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

talking it out does. I knew it was true and I stopped. Now I see cousins and friends do it, but I focus on soccer and school to become a role model for my siblings.

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Recipe for Success by Diego Whether I am stirring, baking, or putting love into my creations, my cooking’s roots originate in Mexico and the US. Anybody can learn this craft with determination and a lot of effort. No matter how good you can cook, not everyone will like it. You can spend hours and hours but not get things right the first time. Cooking, like life, takes time to master. Inspirations for recipes can come from anywhere at any time, So if you cannot find inspiration you need to keep searching for the recipe of success. When I do not pay attention, I feel the burn. Everything may go to waste with one simple mistake, but do not give up on your goals. Keep making yourself and other people happy.


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Me by Grecia I am the tortilla that warms up on the comal. I come from the fields, where the light shines bright on us, making us strong. I place hard work on the tortilla, creating a taco for success. The appreciation of food gives me more motivation to keep moving forward. The smell of the tortilla fills a small house that could barely fit mis hermanos y hermanas. I remember the cuadro hanging on top of my bed, the colorful manta surrounding my family. I would always resar a la virgencita, asking her to not take him so soon. I will never forget the happy moments we had together sitting outside late at night, looking at the little diamonds that placed themselves in the sky. Your accomplishments came from hard work despite the pain you felt inside. My desire for you to stay was not strong enough. After you passed, the whole world ran over me with the reality that you would not be here to give me advice and tell me,

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“Tu puedes.” Looking at your smile comforting me gives me signs that you were happy. You were so strong, never giving up, on what you cared about. You put yourself through anything knowing you could do it. The statement, “Your mind is everything” will always pound with my heart, reminding me to never forget you and your important words. Everywhere I go, I can feel your presence protecting me.


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

A Place by Maria Sometimes, I have visions of another world, where everyone dies when they are supposed to, we do not have to worry about wearing the wrong colors, and we can all walk peacefully knowing we are safe. In that place, people actually care, not about money or power, but about the lives of others. In my eyes, I see a world where we are not afraid of saying what is on our minds because we do not worry about the judgmental statements of others. Girls can wake up and feel beautiful, no matter what. Guys do not need to impress anyone, but themselves. Kids can live a normal childhood, without having two homes. There, people are not judged for their color or race but for their accomplishments. I think about that world, one without stereotypes telling people their futures. In my eyes, I see a world where people are truly happy. Can we create that place?

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Desire by Zoet I will always remember my mom, the way her being strict helps me, or how she cares for me, even when she does not have to any more. She cooks me pozole when I am hungry. The stew heats me up. I am thankful for it. The pozole reminds me of the dirty streets I used to play on in Mexico and my house filled with relatives. Aunts, uncles, grandma, grandpa, and countless cousins all lived together in the big stone house. My parents' desire to give us a better life led them to the US. And in the US, I hold a pencil and I am ready to learn. That pencil walks me through countless lessons and homework assignments. I power through 7 hours of education to gain a better life for my family and myself.


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

Not Just a Game by Eduardo Remembering life is not like a game, but I can describe it in that way. Entering the arcade is like entering the new world with your own eyes, looking around to the things that can help you plan and lead to the future. I see others struggle with their own problems, thinking if I could achieve that high score others could not reach. When I make up my mind, I choose my actions carefully since only God can judge me fairly. I go to the right all the time, unable to move back just like my life. I might miss the fire flower on Mario Bros, thinking there will not be another. Then, you hit that question block and get your chance to retry. My friend, you need to take it one step at a time. If you finish the level and want to continue, do not worry. Your princess and future is in another castle.

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The Person Inside by Marsela I am the person who looks in the mirror and sees a stranger vanishing into nothing. I see myself fading and run to my mom, the only person who loves me. With just the touch of her hands, she makes the feeling of being nothing go away. Her reassurance could save me for ages. She packs my backpack, making sure that I hold my failures, futures, and secrets within it so that the beautiful colors I have within shine bright for everyone to see. When I look at the backpack, there are people showing their own true colors, bringing their past and mine. They remind me to be brave enough to keep going, strong enough to bring out the futures in other people’s lives. The structure of my backpack reflects how tamales are created. Masa spreads over the corn husk, reaching the edges of the world, sharing love and respect. We cram everything ever needed within to have a future to be held by you.


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

Push by Jose I kick and I push, the black bumpy pavement running under me like a treadmill and the hot asphalt nearly melting the souls of my shoe. Every day I look forward to ripping new holes in my sneakers overcoming new obstacles. When you skate, every day there are obstacles in this life. You have to look forward to pushing past the bad things in order to move on to a better future.

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My Thoughts by Irvin I am the plate of frijoles con chorizo that keeps people warm and safe. I protect those who I care for. I come from a place of poverty. I have friends who stay with me through thick and thin. We stick like glue on a paper. I have their back no matter what happens. They are there when I need them. Society sees them as gang members who are no good, but I see them as my family, protecting me from the dangers of society. I am the person who will be filled with knowledge and power. I will be the person who others look up to as a role model. I have seen white people be the ones with education and power, while my people are working day and night with their sweat, tears, and blood. They are killing themselves to get their families food and clothes as well as a roof over their head. I am a former blood gang member


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who has seen his friends, his homies, his family go through so much. I am the person who will help them succeed in life. I will not watch another friend commit suicide because they could not take it. I will help my homies and take them with me to be happy so they do not have to sleep with guns or weapons to protect themselves. I am the person who will free my homies from this jail in hell we call life.

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Achievement by Matthew Feel the pain to be in the game. If things do not go your way, you cannot let people take what is rightfully yours. As you dribble forward in the soccer field, you achieve your goals. Sometimes, you have to go back to fix mistakes that you made. You have to get up and keep moving forward in order to help the people who support you. When you play, you have to concentrate on what is important. You want to achieve the best hat trick in life: school, family, and career. You have to be in it to win it.


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Fight by Tywania I stand alone, no one to go to nowhere to go. No one appreciates the sacrifices of the many women and men who died to protect us. They fight for us! They guard us! They fight for us so we do not have to do the same. We neglect their courage. We let them down by not showing them respect. Every day I wonder and look at the many homeless people, were, no, are they my protector? Did they fight for me? I do not know. It is hard to tell. What is the difference between a soldier and something else? Why are these men and women not at home? Look around you. What makes us any better than the other? I do not think we are any better if our heroes are out on the streets being neglected by society! They fought for us and sacrifice their lives for ours to be safe. And what are we doing?! Sitting around waiting for someone else to do all the work. What makes you think help is going to come any time soon?

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We are young and bold! We need to show the world that these fighters and protectors are outside freezing, wondering if anyone cares for their sacrifice. Well, I care. They do not have to fight for us any longer because I am going to help them be seen as the real warriors No one will stop me and bring down my hopes. I do not care if you do not believe in me. What makes you so sure that it is not true. These people swore to fight for us. They volunteered. They risked their lives for us. So we did not have to. They stand alone thinking that they are no hero if they are not seen as one. Yet they still fight for us knowing the outcome. These men and women are divorced because they fight. Their wife and husband do not see what I see. I see a great hero who is protecting me from hell. Many of these men and women do not understand, understand why their sacrifices are being unappreciated, while we sit here doing nothing to help these people. 1 dedicated soldier dies every 2 hours, maybe even more, because they fight for us They protect us! They sacrificed their lives for us! And what do we do?! They are easily discarded


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and thrown on the streets. Why treat our heroes this way, when they did everything for us!? Who are we to believe that every single day a soldier is discarded? What are we going to do? I am going to fight with those who will help, if none of you will. I will not surrender to society. I will fight until this is stopped!

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Hoops by Grecia You feel the pain on your left knee knowing it comes from the death and problems you have gone through. You play the game wanting to make the people in the crowd proud. When you make a hoop, happiness runs up to your head. I bounce the ball of life, leading me through the way, while preparing myself physically and mentally. As my legs feel worn out, my body screams to not give up. I stand in my position, guarding my family and my future. The failure cannot pass. I win.


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

I Am by Marvin I will never forget the times when my mother would brush my teeth as a little boy. When I was sick, I remember she said, “Vamos a comprarte este te para que te sientes bien.” When middle school came, she used to be sad because I would not be with her or my dad. At times, she would tell me, “Educación primero, y luego las niñas más al rato.” My parents used to always say, “Sal adelante con los papeles, y agarrar otra casa.” I will never forget her warmth and love tucking me in, protecting me during the night. My happiness for her will always be with me forever. I will always remember the old days when my mom and dad would make tortillas freshly from el horno. El menudo en los inviernos brings our family together and makes us stronger. I will never forget the times I visited Texas, the hot sun always pounding its rays on you.

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DSST: College View HS Speaks!

Siempre habia gente en los ceros or in Lookout Mountain talking about el chuppacabra o de Mexico. The border separates two different counties, Mexicans on both sides looking for a dream.

Part of Me by Devin I come from ancient runners of the land, with strong legs and full hearts. They covered miles, staying connected as they ran together. All that was important was making the journey they needed to continue. I come from my ancestors, the Tarahumara, the ones who I do not know, the part of me that is missing, the part of me I will find.


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

Will by Maria I am the first one, the generation and generation of years to come. People claim I will never make it. They will say, if the rest of my family could not, why should I be able to graduate? I will because I come from hard working people feeding lives. I am the people standing ready to be more, ready to bring the whole family up, in a way no one is ever left out and everyone continues equally. I will make it because I come from the smell of chile mixed in with all these spices, the big olla ready for everyone to dig in. I will never forget tasting the maiz and all the love everyone puts into the delicious pozole. I come from sunny days burning the sidewalk beneath my feet, the peeling paint from the hot sun scorching the buildings. I come from the warm memories I get when I look back at the pictures of my childhood. The innocent little girl would never do anything that would hurt anybody. Most of the hard working people in my life come from Zacatecas, the land that taught my mom what hard work means.

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DSST: College View HS Speaks!

Mi mama, the one who knows what is best for me, the one woman who never gave up after everyone left me.

Letter to the Future Me by Diego I am happy with where I am right now but I hope that our future will be even better. Trust me when I tell you that I am ready to step into the future. As time moves on, we will change but never forget where you come from or how you arrived to where you are now. Do not forget the promise you made because we have been raised better than that. There are people who will always give up on you, but do not give up on them. Do not forget about friends because they have taken us far. For the future that I want for us, we need to keep working hard. Obstacles will always come into our life, but if we get over them, our dreams will come true.


Spoken Word Class/Telling Our Stories Workshop Series

Appreciate by Miranda The most important woman in your life COOKS, CLEANS, AND WORKS. Finally, I can see in her eyes, that she is overwhelmed. She brought me into this world and taught me what the world is really like. She showed me what will happen in life, bad from good. She always said to keep your head above water. Memories are what make me this person today. Her words are the reasons why I am strong and confident. “Do not be too trusting yet know a lot.” I do not forget but I forgive. I do not hate, I appreciate. I find warmth in the cold because even in the winter, you can still smell my family’s delicious smothered burritos and see us come closer together. They give you a feeling that rises through your head, making you understand our story and what we have been through with each other. Through thick and thin,

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DSST: College View HS Speaks!

we always have been like a wolf pack. The strength of the pack is the pack of the strength.

Leave? by Eduardo Leaving one’s homeland can feel like leaving your family for dead, especially when forced out. Violence and drugs combine to make life worse, as others judge those of us with a different language. We are pushed out like we are not human anymore. We think the only ticket we have is with the stars, stripes, and the big man in the white house. Although I have not personally experienced it, I can feel how it is. Families leave everything they have, just to live to fight another day. If you think that is bad, we have a man running for president who wants to kick out people who benefit this country. I ask myself, how will getting rid a group of people from the supposed “land of the free” help families who originally came here for a better life?


Profile for Cafe Cultura

DSST Speaks!  

DSST Speaks! (published 11/9/15)...participants in Cafe Cultura's Spoken Word Class (aka "Telling Our Stories" workshop series) performed th...

DSST Speaks!  

DSST Speaks! (published 11/9/15)...participants in Cafe Cultura's Spoken Word Class (aka "Telling Our Stories" workshop series) performed th...

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