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Escuela Tlatelolco Speaks! Cafe Cultura Community Speaks Project 22 Telling Our Stories Workshops Participants (ages 12-16)


Escuela Tlatelolco Speaks! Copyright Š 2015 by Telling Our Stories Workshops Participants (ages 12-16) 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 amazing Escuela Tlatelolco students in the Centro Cuepopan afterschool program‌Keep believing in your power! #CafeCultura #XpressYourself #TellingOurStories


Acknowledgments Thank you to Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios staff for opening your doors to us to work with your students during our Telling Our Stories workshop series. Shout out to the participants from Casa Tamahumara and Mexica for letting us get to know you through your powerful words. Remember: “It’s 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 Having hosted our first open mic at Escuela Tlatelolco in 2004, we have come full circle to provide more opportunities for creative expression at the community-based school. We enjoyed connecting with Escuela students in what we hope will be the continuation of this relationship. This collection of spoken word/poetry comes directly from youth participants in Café Cultura’s Telling Our Stories workshop series offered during the 4th quarter of the school’s 2014-2015 afterschool program. Through their words, these middle and high school students show us the power of pride and confidence in pushing us forward toward greatness. We hope their work inspires you just as it did for us. 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 “Chicina/o” and “Latina/o,” with those Natives of northern nations, referred to as “American Indian” or “Native American.”


CafĂŠ 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 throughout 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 www.facebook.com/cafecultura


Table of Contents My Journey by Jose ................................................................................1 Within Me by Alma................................................................................2 Soccer by Anival .....................................................................................3 Love Around Me by Luz.......................................................................4 Sacrifice by Nayeli ..................................................................................5 The Culture Around Me by Lisbet ......................................................6 Ride by Jose.............................................................................................7 Welcome to Colorful Colorado by Alma............................................8 Mexico by Anival ...................................................................................9


My Journey by Jose I am the place of my birth, dark and gloomy, but thriving on the earth. I will never forget the memories I built, remembering them when I am sad. They will make me glad to be the person I am. I am Oregon. She is the one who shines the light in the reflection of my shadow. She comes from Mexico. She has faced tough times between school and work. At the rate she works, she should be paid millions. But instead, she only gets dimes. She can get through anything because she is strong and independent. She is my sister.


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Escuela Tlatelolco Speaks!

Within Me by Alma I am an eagle, full of grace, dancing, and smiling. I love the feeling of flying. I am a cheetah, full of speed and determination, running full speed toward my goals then hurtling over the expectations. I am fox, full of balance and precision, leaping high and strong, balancing between my past and my future. I am a horse, full of elegant strength, pulling myself forward to finish strong and proud. I am a gymnast.


Telling Our Stories Workshops Participants (ages 12-16)

Soccer by Anival Soccer is a sport but not just any sport. It is my life. Kids chase me like I have the ball. Still, I beat the obstacles. The others are my enemies blocking me, not letting me move forward and score a goal. But I sprint with all my energy, letting myself go further instead of just playing mid-fielder. I protect the past, not letting others invade my side of the field. If they make a goal, they will see my past. But I will not let them get away. I will score and accomplish my goals. This is not just any game for me. It is my life.

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Escuela Tlatelolco Speaks!

Love Around Me by Luz My house is where I can be with my family, the one place when you can be yourself and be a little crazy. Here we all come together as the beautiful family we are. I love being an example to my nieces and nephews. They can fill you up with happiness, joy you did not think you had. I love how I come from the strength of my mom and the lessons she taught us: be strong through anything and succeed in life. She is strength and happiness through good and bad times. She makes me feel like I can achieve anything. She is the reason I will succeed in life. My mom fills our heart with warmth when she cooks chilaquiles. When she make this food, it reminds me of the day my brother graduated. That was the day he gave a speech. His speech made me realize what my mom has done for me. I will never forget that.


Telling Our Stories Workshops Participants (ages 12-16)

Sacrifice by Nayeli I am the eagle on the cactus, standing in the middle of the dessert. I come from Mexico D.F where my family came to be, with beautiful graphic views of tall pyramids, the vivid view of el angel. But as the days pass, the hard work of the Aztecas slowly starts to sink, as the beautiful city starts to cave in. I hold on to my culture while embracing the now. I hear the struggles my parents went through for me and my brothers to be here. I see the vivid stories they tell us, the pain that creeps into their eyes, as they remember the past: from pots of water on my mother’s back to walking a long desert to see a future for her child. Imagining the hard work my mother went through creates a graphic image in my head of her walking that desert, the sun raging like fire on her head and back. She was surrounded by deadly creatures day and night, risking everything just for my brothers and me to have a better life than she had. But her love for me and my brothers, as sweet as arroz con leche, is endless and warm.

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Escuela Tlatelolco Speaks!

The Culture Around Me by Lisbet I come from Toluca, located near el D.F and my heart. This is where my mother’s memories live, continuing in those of my Quinceañera, the day I became a woman to my Mexican culture. The smell of sage and copal lingered in the air, sending good vibes to the people, just like the masa and tortillas my mother makes. I will always remember the sound of her voice, whispering in my ear, as the drum echoed in the background. The sounds are so similar to the calls of the animals in my mother’s pueblo and the car wheels going down the dirt road leading to the place where my father is buried. In all those sounds and smells, my father speaks to me.


Telling Our Stories Workshops Participants (ages 12-16)

Ride by Jose My life can be like riding a horse. I face many obstacles that I need to overcome. I just need to lose the weight on my back. All the problems I have faced only make everything worse. I get judged porque yo soy Chicano. Nobody understands me. Everyone I know and everyone around me faces problems, not just Chicanos o los que tienen su cuerpo mas oscuro. Every doubt I have will haunt me por el resto de mi vida. When I fall off the horse, I will not just be on the ground waiting for it to end my life. Instead, I get back on the horse porque yo soy un Xicano who never gives up! I need to trust my horse for it to trust me. If I live in fear of the horse, I live in fear of myself.

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Escuela Tlatelolco Speaks!

Welcome to Colorful Colorado by Alma “Welcome to Colorful Colorado!” close to the center of the U.S. and the heart of my childhood. I remember the misty summer mornings spent with my grandfather. His strong hands have built buildings and a home for my family. His hard work is remembered all over my home state, with buildings that will stand long after he is gone. I come from my grandmother’s years of hard work. I will always remember the way my family is brought together, different ingredients coming together to create one childhood full of happy memories. I come from my grandmother’s enchiladas. I close my eyes and imagine the sun beating down on my shoulders. I think about the strength and determination it took to build the pyramids that were at the center of my ancestors’ cities. I take a deep breath and I am pulled back to the present. “Welcome to Colorful Colorado!” My home is just as colorful as my heritage.


Telling Our Stories Workshops Participants (ages 12-16)

Mexico by Anival I love Mexico. If I could, I would visit anytime. It gave us enchiladas, my favorite food. Eating them feels like I am baking in a hot stove, as it is with sunny days in Mexico. Chilling with my family, we eat tortillas in the sun. They burn us with joy, as if we were the tortillas on the comal. Out of everyone in my family, I come from my dad’s strength, straight from his arms. He gives me the power to hold a diploma and my future.

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Profile for Cafe Cultura

Escuela Tlatelolco Speaks!  

Escuela Tlatelolco Speaks! (published 6/3/15)...participants in Cafe Cultura's "Telling Our Stories" workshop series performed their poems i...

Escuela Tlatelolco Speaks!  

Escuela Tlatelolco Speaks! (published 6/3/15)...participants in Cafe Cultura's "Telling Our Stories" workshop series performed their poems i...

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