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Grant Beacon Middle School Speaks! Vol. 2 Cafe Cultura Community Speaks Project #20 Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)


Grant Beacon Middle School Speaks! Vol. 2 Copyright Š 2015 by Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14) 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 highly intelligent Grant Beacon Middle School students in our Spoken Word/Poetry enrichment class‌Continue being powerful! #CafeCultura #XpressYourself #TellingOurStories


Acknowledgments Thank you to Grant Beacon Middle School for the honor of providing our Telling Our Stories workshop series as part of 3rd quarter enrichment. Special thank you to all participants for sharing your stories with us. 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 After working with GBMS during 1st quarter (2014-2015), it was a pleasure to continue our partnership. Once again, it was a great experience. The spoken word/poetry produced throughout our time together offers a glimpse of the potential of these youth. These middle school students show us examples of how we can and must express ourselves and tell our stories. 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 throughout Colorado. Café Cultura partners with select organizations and schools to facilitate an intensive workshop series, publish youth poetry, and organize participant showcases. In an effort to devel-


op 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 Life by Bryan ....................................................................................1 Reminder by Matilda..............................................................................2 Violence by Jacob...................................................................................3 The Women in My Family by Leslie ...................................................4 My Native People by Emanuel ............................................................5 The Game by Hindiyo ...........................................................................6 Me by Nicholas.......................................................................................7 Life is like a Cage by Emily ...................................................................8 Overdose of Technology by Jaden ......................................................9 Life by Vien.......................................................................................... 10 Mexicans Are Strong by Bryan.......................................................... 11 My Brother's Memory by Matilda ..................................................... 12 I Am Me by Jacob ............................................................................... 13 In My World by Leslie ........................................................................ 14 Walking by Emanuel ........................................................................... 15 Dear Life by Emily.............................................................................. 16 We Are One by Nicholas ................................................................... 17 I Believe by Hindiyo ........................................................................... 18 We Are a Car Community by Vien................................................... 20 Grown from Mountains by Jayden................................................... 21 Standing Tall by Bryan ....................................................................... 22 The Life of Football by Matilda ........................................................ 23 In My Dreams by Emanuel ............................................................... 24


Us, As People by Emily ...................................................................... 25 Life by Nicholas ................................................................................... 26 Food for Thought by Vien ................................................................. 27


My Life by Bryan I will never forget East Los Angeles. People think it is dangerous but I don’t. That is where I am from. I did everything for the first time, there. I started school there. East LA was where I first tasted my favorite food made with passion: enchiladas verdes. To this day, the delicious taste of a warm tortilla with chile verde and pollo fills me with love and care. I am a Chicano with respect. I have the force to fight for my gente. I have a big heart and want people to be treated equally. I come from a culture that teaches us to work hard from morning to night. We fight to get our rights. We stick together.


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Reminder by Matilda In my dreams, I see myself in 5 years, being 16. I could see my life change in a new world, where you could be who you are. I want to be who I am. I need to do what I can to keep the love of my grandmother in my heart. I cry just thinking about how much I am like her. Everything I do is for her. She lives within me. I want her to see me graduate and I will. I will succeed as life moves on. As much as you want to let go of life, you have the strength to move on from the past. Keep trying to move on. Keep going! Do not let anything change you!


Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)

Violence by Jacob I am Jacob. I want to know why we are not hand in hand but we go gun to gun. Think of all the lives we take, the lives we try to save. Why? It is because of these guns. So I say, we need to stop the violence and respect one another, to become a real world with people who care. Look, I am here giving hope. We all have gone through a lot in life, good and bad. Why should we lose the hope that we all have? It gets us through this life.

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The Women in My Family by Leslie I come from a woman who is made out of love and smells like flowers. Whenever she fills me up with love, she makes me feel like I am in heaven. If you were to meet her, you would not believe what you are seeing. I will never forget her smile. When she hugs me, I feel like I am going to faint. She has taught me how to be brave. I love my mom. I come from a woman who makes miracles for my family. She is a powerful lady, who holds a white rose that is beautiful, just like her. She reminds me of the sun because she has bright light around her. These are the women in my family.


Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)

My Native People by Emanuel I am the delicious and warm frybread made with yeast that rises just like my Native people. It reminds me of my Native blood. It makes me think of the ancestors, as if I was one of them. I come from the chief of the Dakota Sioux who helps his people with strength, but also with sacrifice. He carries his tribe on his back, walking for a long, long distance. I am the sage burning in my blood. I ascend with smoke that shows my ancestors dancing around. I give strength and happiness to my Native people. I am a dreamcatcher. I catch all the bad spirits and throw them away. I come from my Native peoples’ hands. At the end of it, all I can say is today was a good day.

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The Game by Hindiyo When people think of life, they think of breathing. That is not right. Life is “The Game.” You are on the court looking like Beyonce. You whip your hair like Willow and you have your pride like The Weeknd. You know the game is about to begin. People are cheering like the Wildcats, cheerleaders dancing like Nicki, and your coach demanding you to “get your head in the game.” You are dribbling like Michael Jordan. But then, some tall chick knocks you down and takes the ball. I am out cold, my life flashes before my eyes. How can I ever get back up? Everyone watched me get knocked out. They are all watching with their judgemental eyes. But then Willow, Beyonce, and The Weeknd enter my head, making me believe. I stand up, dash after my enemy. I snatch the ball, making a layup. With only 30 seconds left in the game, I get the ball and make a three pointer. I just made my life worthy.


Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)

Me by Nicholas Me and my crazy, happy brother both live in Denver, Colorado with the big colorful sky being scraped by skyscrapers. We enjoy the love my family calls oatmeal, a food that brings my family together. My mom puts her sweat and blood into making me into a graduate with a good stable career, the first in my family line. I am the diploma showing and reminding the world that I am success, The first in my family.

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Life is like a Cage by Emily When you think of life, you think fairytale. But to me, life is like a cage. You are being brought down, having to hide. When you try to show who you are, you are punished. You get pushed to the edge, where no one sees you. You are just another face in a long line of people. Every ray of sunshine goes away and the black night comes out to play. All hope is lost and it is just another day of survival. Good things pass so fast, and the bad is there to stay. But like every cage, there is a way to escape. Find the key and break free. Live your life outside of the problems, keep moving forward and never look back. When you break free, there is no going back. When you walk by that cage, old and broken, you will not remember those terrible days.


Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)

Overdose of Technology by Jaden Think about your family, home, friends, and belongings. Do you really love them more than the words rendered by the microscopic pixels on the handheld screen? You probably do not remember you had kids, maybe not even the sight of the sunset. All you know now is the “Beep!� of getting a new notification. You know what happens when you combine phones and cars, right? I heard there are more germs on phones than there are in sewers. Heck, an old friend never talked to anyone, even a foot away. He would text them, really. There is nothing social or healthy about replacing your voice with a text. You have vocal chords for a purpose! Get out there, make friends. Take a breath of fresh air. Take a break.

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Life by Vien Life is hard. I am inside a room, chains around the door. Suddenly, I hold the chains of doubt, trying to take them off. I pull and pull until I feel the pain. How am I going to college this way? Blood is dripping now. I look around for some bandages. Then I remember, there are two doors. One has the bandages, one does not; the right way, and the wrong; play good or play bad. I decide to take the right way and there it was: bandages, bandages that would heal the things I did wrong. I sit on the bed, thinking. Then I see a key underneath. I grab it and unlock the chain. I open the door the light and my future shinning.


Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)

Mexicans Are Strong by Bryan Dear Immigration, You guys think that we, the Mexicans, are not smart. Ustedes creen que nosotros, los mexicanos, somos narcos. But we come from a country where there is respect and no laziness because we are trabajadores. We are strong, valientes. We work for everything. You think we come to this state to sell drugs, but we come here to work hard and make a better life. This is not a lie. This is the truth. We are strong because we are Mexicans. So we are not what you think. We are respectful and strong people. Sincerely, A Human Being (not an alien)

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My Brother's Memory by Matilda I will always remember my favorite brother and the difficulties he went through. I am going through the same thing. I can feel the same pain you felt a long time ago. I remember. Your laugh is the best feeling in the world. You taught me right from wrong, left from right, up from down. You taught me all I know now. I still have your hat. I remember you wore it, just to wear it. I still have it to think of you every day. I have the gold around my neck that protects. You said the heart symbolizes passion and serenity, the keys to a successful life.


Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)

I Am Me by Jacob I am Native American. My ancestors were beautiful and wonderful. They stood tall for what they believed in. So do I and always will. But now, they are all gone. I wear a ring that I have had since I was four. This ring means a lot because my dad gave it to me. It reminds me of how far I have come and how far I will go.

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In My World by Leslie In my world, I see no dogs on chains, no wars. In my world, I see happy people, nobody fighting or being mean, but nice. In my world, there are people drawing beautiful pieces of art on walls. The buildings, in my world, are like never before. The people, in my world, accept everyone, not just the one they see in the mirror every day. In my world, I see no violence. In my world, I see all of us climbing up to this world.


Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)

Walking by Emanuel I am walking from these bad spirits. They chase me trying to trip me up with drugs and crimes. I am trying to get to the end of the road, the road of happiness. But as I got to the end, I keep getting pushed back. All I want to do is make it to the end to rest, rest my legs.

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Dear Life by Emily Dear Life, every line starts with: Now I say this for the first time, I think about you whenever. Everyone’s scared to lose you. I could go day after day going to a meaningful place. I wish one more time I could say thank you, and have one more time to do this over. I wish that I gave you more meaning, I think about how hard you are. Now, I know to live like there is no tomorrow. Every day is your last day. (Now read it backwards)


Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)

We Are One by Nicholas We are a village. We grow together, build together, and live together So, hold each other while it lasts.

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I Believe by Hindiyo I believe in so many things. I believe in heaven and hell. I believe in murder and hate. I believe like it is the only thing to do. But I do not believe in myself. Believing in myself makes me feel like that devil, makes me evil, makes me dangerous. I come from a strict family, so strict, that you might think we created that word. The only time I can believe in myself is when my ummi cooks sambousa. I could be 5 miles away and still smell it, making me drool like a dog. I believe in faith and justice. I believe in my fellow blacks, who never gave up. They protested for their needs making them invincible, making it real. I once believed my ancestors were white, even Mexican, sometimes Chinese. Do you know why? I had the power to believe. Believing is like answering to “isa� and achieving my goals. Believing got me so far. Because of it I am invincible. I believe in family. I believe in food. I believe in culture. I believe in heaven and hell.


Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)

I believe in murder and hate. But I cannot believe in myself. It is like giving myself up to the devil, the ultimate evil.

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We Are a Car Community by Vien We are a car. We are not whole but pieces. Those pieces are a community. If our community does not function, then we cannot move forward. If our community does not function right, there will be a BAM! This is why we need to shine. It is pretty simple: just turn on the switch and fix the pieces. We need mechanical engineers in our world. We need to help each other. We need to treat each other with respect. We need to move drive together toward the sunlight. This is how our community should function.


Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)

Grown from Mountains by Jayden From the orange slopes of the mountains, the brown slate of the plateau, and the green grass of the landscape, Colorado is where I live and will remain. The spice and sweetness, crunch and smush of my father’s fritos and chile will eternally be my favorite to devour and savor. What I see in my father is hope, life, forgiveness, positivity, and a caring heart. He has given me 50% of everything I have now. If it was not for him, I wouldnt be here right now, writing this poem.

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Standing Tall by Bryan Dribbling down the field, the other team is trying to get the ball away from me. The ball is my patience, my life. They try to trip me, wanting to mess me up. But as I like to say, “Nothing is going to trip me because I’m going to make a goal for my teammates.” The victory comes when I accomplish my goals, becoming what I want to be when I grow up. I want to make it to the championship, but these people keep trying to take the ball away. I am not going to let them steal my dreams, because I am Mexican and come from a country whose home does not let him give up. The championship means a lot to me. I will go to college and get a good job that pays well.


Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)

The Life of Football by Matilda I do it for the fans and my team. I do it for everyone depending on me. I catch the ball and run for a touchdown. I feel the pressure on me. I keep running I am half-way there. I know the other team is not letting me run away. I run from the negativity of those trying to stop me. I just think about winning this game. I am hoping to be the first to win, to achieve. I know what I do is real. Once I get there, scoring a touchdown, I will know I won. I might have been tackled at times, but I reached success. I thank the other team for pushing me to do what I need to do. I will be the first to get that touchdown. The ball I carry is full of your doubts. But when I get my touchdown, I drop it out of excitement because I proved you wrong. I showed how I will succeed.

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In My Dreams by Emanuel In my dreams, I see Native people not being looked at as worthless. We are not worthless. We are one,. We are a unity. We are strong. In my dreams, we will succeed in life. We will conquer. If you do not think so, then wake up!


Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)

Us, As People by Emily Us, as people, continue getting kicked to the curb, being judged because we are who we are, because long ago our ancestors danced around the fire, next to clean water and clear skies. Us, as people, always see the bright side of things when it gets dark. Now, we see those spirits in the sky, in the stars. Us, as people, take the bad things in our dreamcatchers, in our property. Us, as people, get forced out, having food taken and our beautiful land burned. But, us, as people, we stood up and we stood strong. We will continue to do so.

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Life by Nicholas Life is GTA. You make money and friends, while some may turn on you. Others will not. When you crash, turn that car around and keep going. You can win that race. Have a good life and have fun.


Telling Our Stories Workshop Participants (ages 12-14)

Food for Thought by Vien I was reading a book until I got hungry. I went to the kitchen. But suddenly, I did not know what to eat. Then, I remembered bread I remember when people are dying of hunger. I come to the rescue, taking people from hunger to a full stomach. Once I was full, I went back to reading. I fell into a maze, a mysterious book Then, I fell down on a pirate ship adventurous book. Suddenly, I fell asleep until a Q hit me on the head. An R passed by and I grabbed it. Then, I realize I cannot hold on anymore. I fell, fell, and fell. As I almost cracked my head, I remember him, the guy who handed me the book. There was a smile across my face: Peter and the Starcatcher.

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Grant Beacon Middle School Speaks! Vol 2  

Grant Beacon Middle School Speaks! Vol 2 (published 3/23/15)...participants in Cafe Cultura's "Telling Our Stories" workshop series performe...

Grant Beacon Middle School Speaks! Vol 2  

Grant Beacon Middle School Speaks! Vol 2 (published 3/23/15)...participants in Cafe Cultura's "Telling Our Stories" workshop series performe...

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