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La Academia Speaks Forever Vol. 6 Cafe Cultura Community Speaks Project #57 Youth from La Academia and Noel Community Arts School


La Academia Speaks Forever Vol. 6 Copyright Š 2018 by Youth from La Academia and Noel Community Arts School 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.


This book is dedicated to the resilient students of La Academia (and one from Noel Community Arts School)! Continue to overcome the obstacles in your life to become the leaders we need. Be powerful! 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!


Acknowledgments We want to thank La Academia staff for one more amazing year! Special shout out to Charleen and Destinee for always supporting student voice through our collaboration. We know your impactful presence will inspire other youth.


Foreword It has been a privilege to partner with La Academia for one last time. We used our “Telling Our Stories” curriculum to teach our biggest spoken word class at the school. We enjoyed the insightful conversations and thoughtful poems that came from our time together. As you read this book, we are sure you will see the same potential for greatness that we witnessed. We look forward to staying connected, as they develop into the leaders we need. 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 thirteen 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 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: www.cafecultura.org info@cafecultura.org 720-460-9203


Table of Contents Memories by Prizma ..............................................................................1 Cherishing Life by Heidi .......................................................................2 Estamos Unidos by Juan Carlos ..........................................................4 My World by Liz ....................................................................................5 Lesson From the Past by Priscilla ........................................................6 Dirty Black Boards by Areyana ............................................................8 Parts of My Life by Kevin ....................................................................9 New Beginnings by Joslyn ................................................................. 10 Memories by Alondra ......................................................................... 11 Everlasting Love by Arturo ............................................................... 13 Complex by Samantha ........................................................................ 14 The Piano Player by Keilah ............................................................... 15 Strength Through Struggle by Chardonney .................................... 16 Creativity by Lala ................................................................................. 17 The BMX of Success by Xavier ........................................................ 18 Graduation Day by Prizma ................................................................ 19 Take Me to the Place by Heidi .......................................................... 20 Amo a Mi Vida y Mi Rancho by Juan Carlos .................................. 21 Game of Life by Kevin ...................................................................... 23 The Watermelon Prophecies by Areyana ........................................ 24 Rollercoaster by Liz ............................................................................ 26 Who Are You? by Joslyn.................................................................... 27 Game of Life by Priscilla ................................................................... 28


Because of You by Alondra ............................................................... 29 Strength and Greatness by Xavier..................................................... 30 No Life by Keilah ................................................................................ 31 Beautiful Yet Dangerous by Samantha............................................. 32 10 Years Later by Prizma ................................................................... 33 Continuing by Heidi ............................................................................ 34 The Rules to Winning by Areyana .................................................... 35 My Inspiration by Liz .......................................................................... 37 The Beautiful Moments by Alondra ................................................. 38 Don't Get Crushed Under a Piano by Priscilla ............................... 39 In 10 Years by Kevin .......................................................................... 40 Thin Blue Line by Anonymous ......................................................... 41 Poems by Joslyn ................................................................................... 41


Memories by Prizma It does not matter if you are new or old, you are still a part of this. When you stepped in for the first time, you became connected to the walls that are filled with your ancestors’ past. The noise of laughter in the mornings awakens your spirit. A fresh breeze from outside enters through open doors to start off our goals. We are here to grow, learn, and make a better form of ourselves. We help each other and support each other throughout this journey. Even though the end is almost near, it brings us closer together. Now, we are stronger, united like a family keeping our bond as close as possible. With all our memories, we will remember the shared moments we have spent together. “In Lak’ech” is our motto.


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Cherishing Life by Heidi I will always remember, the beautiful golden pink quinceanera ring that stays on my finger daily. It was a blessing given to me by my parents. The golden pink crown, filled with love, reminds me of amazing memories, forever cherishing that day. I come from a father who crossed the border, leaving everything behind in search of opportunities and a new life. His many struggles have not stopped him from being such a caring, grateful, and hard working person. He brings joy and love through his words and hugs. I come from my mother's pupusas made from masa, frijol, y queso. They remind me of the beautiful place, El Salvador. Each bite brings back all my past memories. Every bite gets better and better. The taste takes me to a heavenly place. The recipe stays alive in my family's hands.


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I come from a place where many people see danger and violence. In my eyes, it is a beautiful little country. El Salvador, where people see poverty, I see happiness. There, I can be free. I come from marches for a better future, immigrants fighting for what they want. On May 1, 2006 powerful and brave people came together. Their future in their hands, hoping for a better tomorrow. In their eyes, there is hope, inspiring others to not give up.

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Estamos Unidos by Juan Carlos I ride this horse named Mi Vida. ICE agents follow me. I can’t ride peacefully. I feel trapped by the fences. This is the struggle for the little charro because life is never easy. To get on the horse, you have to climb onto the saddle. To keep your head up, you have to be be strong like god. It was hard to stand up from the floor but me acuerdo que mi padre me dijo, “Echale ganas a la vida mijo.” I cannot ride peacefully because ICE says there is another immigrant riding the horse. My fear does not go away. Mexicans do not feel free. They feel like they are trapped by bars. ICE agents are looking for people who do not have papers, como decimos los Mexicanos, los mojados, Mexicans that are “rapists,” “drug addicts,” and “criminals.” Todos los Mexicanos no somos criminales.


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Queremos estar unidos. Venimos a trabajar, no matar. Queremos un futuro mejor para nuestros hijos.

My World by Liz In my world, there are many problems. Being a leader in your community is hard. People may try to bring you down. You can do many things to try and help your community. You can help people by giving and reaching out to them. Things may be hard, but you must push yourself, helping your mom in as many ways as you can, or your dad, or your grandma, auntie, or uncles. Many people may not be reaching your goals. Let us help them!

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Lesson From the Past by Priscilla I come from the carne asada that always reminds me of home. Music is always playing during family gatherings. The salsa adds flavor to the carne asada, uplifting us in a difficult time. The tortilla is that one family member who always brings everyone together. I am the masa that makes the soft, warm tortilla. I come from the pitter patter of my grandma's hands, making the shape of the tortilla. This is a skill that is passed down. Young children make balls of masa because they still have a lot to learn, growing just like the corn from the dirt of many memories. I come from a place where no one knows, where you feel like your home no matter where you go. Rainbow homes stand left and right, up and down the earth roads that I walk on to get some mangos, just like my ancestors did before me. Being there makes me feel like a leaf flowing through the crisp air. Walking out the door feels like a zoo and a nice quiet park all at the same time. Walking down the road makes me feel like a celeb, everyone talking to you each and every way you go.


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Walking up from your slumber, you can smell eggs and hotdogs cooking on the stove. Every day feels like a party when you are catching up with people you had not met but yet feel like you have known them forever. Looking at still memories from long ago makes you feel like you are there, experiencing all the emotions rush back to you, like raging waves during a bad storm. Being there feels like a dream you never want to wake up from. Going back home makes you want to be like sonic and rush back to the place that is an oasis to you. I come from a mother who never let the evil spirits get to her and bring her down. She would always give her family the food she hunted before she gave it to herself. She held me in her arms like a teddy bear, shielding me from the monsters. She taught me how to fight in a war just like she did long ago. Her love for her children is bigger than the Milky Way Galaxy. In my eyes, she looks like a goddess sent from above. Mom, even though we have ups and downs, my love for you is strong than Thor’s hammer.

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Dirty Black Boards by Areyana Broken swings do not always mean broken dreams. The place I call home is a beautiful fortress of music and pride. The “Montbello Warriors� have been erased in the system, the same way my culture was erased from my ancestors. Green lawns and dirty blinds: a hypocritical mess of stereotyped lies and washed away truths. This place is filled with the arrays of different colored skin, flashing lights, and home cooked foods, a place where I witnessed the creation and removal of my world. Yet I, like my people, busted through that locked door, made something from nothing. They took away our library, so we found our own knowledge. They took away our funding, so we made our own money. They took away our history, so we made our own.


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Parts of My Life by Kevin I am the red meat tamal, from the old Mexican pueblos of my ancestors. I will always remember my origins and how hard my people worked to create tamales. I will never forget all the smiles they bring to my family, gathering us all. I will never forget Zacatecas, where everyone is free and happy. Every time you wake up, the view of the mountains never fails to put you in awe. This place is full of generous people and beautiful places wherever I go. I carry some of Zacatecas in me, along with the stories of my grandparents and their life lessons. I will always remember my mom, a hard worker who never lets life bring her down. She pushes forward wanting to see her family succeed. For a very independent, strong woman, there is always time for family. I come from the colorful, round, and smooth soccer ball passed down through generations and in fields.

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In it are stored the millions of smiles it brought around the world. I will always remember the people marching, remembering a leader while continuing the fight for freedom. Everyone is united for one result: freedom. They fight for what is right, for something every person should already have: freedom.

New Beginnings by Joslyn I had to start packing my bag from a place that I once called home. All I saw was my mother crying because of her mixed emotions. My mother cried while she packed but didn’t know our next destination. I didn’t even know about the situation. It was nothing new to me. So I packed as I thought I could see my dad again forgiving the pain he has done to my mother because she was willing to, because she rather get hurt from my father than what her mother put her through. At the end of the day, I will never know the feeling of home. All I can do is hope, because hope brings new beginnings.


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Memories by Alondra I come from the beautiful pueblo of Huejuquilla, Jalisco, mi segunda casa, where I feel welcomed and happy walking in the dirt en el cerro. I will never forget how my Papa crossed the border to meet his destiny. Leaving his family behind, he worked 2-3 jobs a day just so he can have a place to stay. He carried his family on his shoulders, bringing his siblings to the US so they can have a chance at a better life. Thanks to my Papa, I have a really big family to love and comfort, to care and cherish. I come from my abuelita’s tamales, a recipe which originates in La Noria, Zacatecas. It is spicy like my abuelita’s attitude and cheesy like my mom. With their guidance, I am a girl in her womanhood.

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My quince necklace, given to me by my mom, makes me feel close to her always. I am not only proud but happy to remember the day of my quince, by wearing my necklace. The way La Virgencita holds our hearts in her hands is heartwarming. I feel safe and protected when I pray to her. The way La Virgencita makes miracles happen for us is amazing.


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Everlasting Love by Arturo I am from my kitchen, from the hands of my mom and dad. My mom’s are so perfect for making tamales that smell like heaven and taste like love. I come from a single mother who crossed the border for better opportunities. Her love is everlasting She is able to overcome any difficulty. My mother is the glue that keeps everything in place. I am from the memories captured every time I look back. It is an instant time machine offering recuerdos para toda la vida y amor eterno. I come from la Virgen, a representation of my culture which provides glowing energy and everlasting love. Her love will soothe any discomfort. Te enseùara el camino. It will protect you from yourself doing bad.

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Complex by Samantha She hates the lies, the lies that drag her into a dark room, living in her worst nightmare. She sees an image of a man with scars just like her scars. She sees him as king, standing tall, showing those who despise him that he has worth. He is the angel who will help save her from the deep hole she has dug. He sits with her to paint a portrait. With each brush stroke, a memory is painted on. With that, a tear drop falls. She sits aside her angel, her king. Crying, she sees that living things have emotion. She offers him a dish that he once gave to her: a bowl of rice, beans, and beef. With each taste, it lets him see the memories that they have together. She then starts to paint,


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to show him the pain she is going through. She lives everyday scared, not knowing what the world holds for her. Yet, she lives everyday with her angel waiting for her. Soon they will meet again.

The Piano Player by Keilah Life is like playing the piano. At times, life will sound graceful. Other times, it can be a disaster. Just how a piano needs tuning, my life could use that as well. Instead of using expensive tools, I only need my family and friends. They are the ones who keep me in constant melody and harmony, so I can always play beautifully, uniting them through my music.

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Strength Through Struggle by Chardonney I come from a place I don’t even recognize anymore, but know it will always be home. Some things do not change, like the feeling I have when I visit H’s, like I never left. Although many buildings changed, I will always have an image of what it really looks like. I remember how everyone lived so close that we became family, getting out, talking, having fun. So many homes were filled with love, many smiles going around. I come from my mom’s lessons. She taught me a lot: have a good mindset, always be strong, and to not go down the wrong path. The strength that she shared with me will keep rising, flowing with life, allowing me to make the best of it. I will show that I am more than the choices I made. I will prove to my mom that I am going to make it through life, having the ability to overcome many obstacles by myself. I will be a future graduate with joy in my eyes


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and my future in my hands, telling myself I did it. I will look in front of me, to the supporters who were there to help me, being able to have a feeling I will honor forever, but never experience again. I will know this all happened because of me not having guilt from when I was struggling. Struggles are what push me forward with the desire to be successful and continue life.

Creativity by Lala I am the creative kid whose knowledge grows as tall as a tree and the colors from my mind flow out, creating the beautiful springtime. I hold a seed in the palm of my hand, letting it grow with the colorful wooden paint brush my mom gave me. I paint my future on a blank canvas. The blank canvas has a little more color. Every day, I grow with the paintbrush in my hand. I feel calm. The paintbrush, tree, and the seed are who I am. I grow from these things every day.

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The BMX of Success by Xavier Take me back to the time I was forced to ride a bike. I remember it like it was yesterday. I can just remember the fall and the amount of times I attempted. It reminds me of life. Through the scrapes and screams, the outcome was positive. The journey was a trip. Free riding was easy but mastering a trick was the trick. I always kept in mind how easy it is to give up. It is as easy to succeed. I find myself on the biggest dirt ramp in the park, the steepest, the scariest, the most shadow hiding from the sun. It shows the struggle of life. When I look down, I get instant anxiety, with butterflies inside. I count to move forward, feeling the breeze of life, knowing if I would fall and fail life, I could get back up. I know I have a chance to succeed.


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Graduation Day by Prizma I am one step closer to the big day, one special day when I will feel my proudest. All of the hard work will finally be worth something. My mom will be glad she crossed la frontera for me. My dad’s long days of work are appreciated because without his help, I would not be able to walk across that stage. I would give my homeland Durango,Mexico and all my family there hope that it is possible to achieve anything you want in life. I started from the bottom but made my own path to the top. From graduation and on, many more paths will be created with the strength that is within me. As I reach for my diploma, all these feelings rush in, this is the happiest day of my life. When I walk down and go towards my family, I feel all the love and support on this important day. Now, I am ready to begin my successful life as an independent Mexican woman.

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Take Me to the Place by Heidi Take me to a place where no one is afraid to be who they are, where negativity does not exist. Take me to a place where everyone gets to speak for themselves, holding nothing behind, expressing what they really feel. Take me to a place where people see the good in everything, even when bad happens. They learn from it, benefiting in every situation. Take me to a place where no one brings each other down. Instead, they fill each other with love and never hate. When one sees themselves in the mirror, they are amazed with what they see, amazed for the life they are living and grateful for their place. We have the power in our hands to make this dream a reality.


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Amo a Mi Vida y Mi Rancho by Juan Carlos I am a young boy who comes from Mexican parents. I come from one place. I will always remember my parents telling me their stories when they were little. They did not have a full education like I do. They had to drop out of school to work to bring food to the house and to live. I will never forget my parents’ stories, the beautiful places, the farms and family, that live in Zacatecas. I am the tasty and good gorditas my mom makes with masa, meat, red chile, y amor. The smell reminds me of Mexico. I come from a beautiful family, reminding me of my roots and the hard work needed to create something beautiful. I will always remember the delicious food, the smell. I will never forget

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the times gorditas have brought my family together. I am the love of my mom. She is my flower. I come from a placenta. The day I was born, my mom gave me life. I will always remember me opening my eyes and seeing all my loved ones. Siempre voy a recordar como las tortillas nos quedan unidos. El oler de las tortillas me hace sentir que estoy en el rancho. Cada ves que voy ahí, el bello oler de las tortillas me da el amor. Nunca voy a olvidar una cosa muy bonita que viene de mi rancho. Un día mi dios se llevó mi abuelita a las estrellas. Cada día cuento los días que no estás en el lado de nosotros. Rezamos para que dios te abra las puertas y puedes descansar. Huele a rosas rojas cada bola. Me acuerdo de té


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y el rosario que me distes. Lo tengo puesto donde quiera que esté. La paloma blanca esta donde quiera que esté. Yo siento que me estás apoyando.

Game of Life by Kevin You step onto the field of life, looking around, realizing all of the challenges and obstacles in front of you. The ball represents you. The goalkeeper is stopping you from reaching your goal. The defenders are the bad people, the negative comments, money problems, and all of that life throws at you. With the right move, the right play, you reach the goalie box. As you prepare your final shot to reach your goal in life, you look back at everything you have accomplished. You realize how far you have gone. You get a warm feeling in you. You take the shot and score!

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The Watermelon Prophecies by Areyana Being a watermelon in a world full of strawberries and mangoes, is like being a black girl. In a world I call reality, growing from a small seed into a beautiful, green, round, seed-bearer, a hardened shell on the outside, but succulent, and magnificent, and red, and pulsing on the inside. Tarnished, cut, and bruised by ugly names and ugly lies but still taken back like the n-word my ancestors were called, as whips tore open their skin. Taken back like my hair that is groomed like an animal at a petting zoo, or stolen, renamed, and appropriated by magazines or instagram posts. Taken back like my dignity and pride


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that are broken down when I hear my own race exclaim that black girls are ugly and ghetto and that is why they could never love one. And in one moment, our beautiful, soft, watermelon, seed-bearing skin, is cut, bruised, split open, drained, deprived like a piece of candy, left out for far too long. Trying to grow into the watermelon you are meant to be, in a world that entraps and restricts watermelons to one side of the street of life, is almost as hard as building yourself up from scratch. But I can do it. We all can do it. Because we are watermelons. We are beautiful, green, round seed-bearers, a hardened shell on the outside, but succulent and magnificent and red and pulsing on the inside. We are black girls.

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Rollercoaster by Liz As you are walking up to a roller coaster, you feel many types of emotions. The smell of the popcorn and the other snacks make you happy. It is kind of like life. Life is a roller coaster, with many ups and downs, with many different emotions. As you get on the roller coaster, it may start off easy. You may not know what is coming next. As the roller coaster goes up, many things start to change. Things start getting more exciting or even scarier. In life, it is the same thing. You never know what to expect. When you are on a roller coaster, you can go through a dark tunnel, just like in life. Sometimes you go through rough times and it may seem like a dark time in your life. But then, better days come. With those days, you become successful.


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Who Are You? by Joslyn Who are you? Are you a person in my dreams, wishing you could be here with me? That love that I never had, is so foreign to me. You expect me to be there for you, but you were not there for me. I do not know you and you do not know me. I am not little anymore, like the time you used to know me. You can leave now because it can go back to when you just did not know me. I would rather have my mom next to me, watching me grow into who I am now. You can leave now, because I hate this feeling.

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Game of Life by Priscilla Ping is the sound I hear when I log in every day. It is the same thing because I cannot get past the level. Once I do, I feel happy and the anger I had leaves. But then, all this anger rushes back. Some people end up taking my controller and start playing for me, making their own choices. Once they fail, they leave me to pick up the broken pieces of my life they left behind. People get in front of me, blocking my path. The more I take it slow and meet new people who help me, I get the tools I need and play to get to the boss. Some days, I may fail. It might take longer but the more I take my time, breathe, and look at all the details, I see if my tools are right to beat the bosses. School takes time for me. I need to look for people to help me through college, because I may think that I have it down but in the end I fail. I get through a ban. I slip and fall but then I get up and zoom out.


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Because of You by Alondra I miss us, our friendship. It used to be unbreakable. It was a special bond that I miss every day. The laughs we shared, the sadness that we encountered together, we shared everything. You were my other half, my soulmate, my best friend. I will never forget the moments we shared together. You were everything to me and now that is all gone. Through my eyes, you were perfect. But now, all I see is disgust. You broke me into pieces. I am not the same because of you. Despite all of that, I still miss you! You taught me not to trust anyone who comes into my life. Because of you, I am stronger and I am woke.

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Strength and Greatness by Xavier I will always remember my mom. She reminds me of my grandmother. Both are very strong women to look up to. She is a single mother of 5, working as hard as a machine to produce hard working, successful machines to carry on the family name. I am a taco. I come from Mexico. I will always remember the smell when I get off school. It is the smell of greatness, when all the grease is dripping on my napkin, reminding me of my parents’ hard work. Each bite makes me realize how important tacos really are. I will never forget when the Black Panthers made it possible for me to eat in the early morning. It takes me back to the time I was in elementary school, getting dropped off at 8:00 am for a bowl of cereal and a toasted bagel with cream cheese. From their hands came health and knowledge given for the day.


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With so many places in need, the Black Panthers made it a need they fought and fought until justice was taught.

No Life by Keilah She truly is the most beautiful thing I have ever laid my eyes on. Every day I come home, I am greeted by her, either with a smile on her face, tears on her cheeks, or with angered eyes. Every day has been a struggle for her. She bore six kids, one who does not see her, one she cannot see, one who disrespects her, and three who still look up to her for care. I swear I am here for her, but that is barely half the truth, because when I see her upset, I just do not know what to do.

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Beautiful Yet Dangerous by Samantha Life is like a bed of water, so beautiful, yet dangerous. Well, that is how it feels like to me, when I wake up to when I go to sleep. Every day, I wish I could go see the sea, or ocean, or any beautiful body of water. Sometimes, I feel like going into the cold, beautiful water and letting go of all the pain and stress. I wish I could be able to float, and let go of all the things, but drowning scares me. That’s what life feels like a beautiful, yet dangerous body of water.


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10 Years Later by Prizma There is a mirror in front of me that shows me my future. In it, I see the best version of myself. I achieved my goals and was handed my key to success. I see myself in my dream job, making big moves. My heart grew 10x more. The person I was in the past made me who I am today. I am stronger than I was before and more focused to make my life the best life. I surpassed the negative vibes that came my way and pushed them back. I am proud to say I did not disappoint myself. In the end, I only need to worry about one person's happiness, mine.

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Continuing by Heidi I wake up, not knowing what to expect but able to change what’s ahead. Every day like a new chapter, being able to start again. People talk without knowing, talking nonsense, talking reckless, never good. It makes it harder to keep going. I block out their doubts, continuing to write my story. I focus on what I can control, carrying myself to achieve new things. I achieve what I want, putting everything into accomplishing my goals, continuing for a better end, a better chapter in life.


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The Rules to Winning by Areyana Volleyball is a game of endurance, the throwing yourself to the ground, the yelling, the split second decisions, the communication and the timing, the placement of the ball, the movement of your feet. Five long games seem to last forever yet end so quickly. Volleyball is hard to win without a willingness to sacrifice. To recover from the hits, you have to be quick. You have to get your body to the floor, because the only thing that matters in that moment is keeping the ball in play. You cannot let yourself lose. You cannot let yourself give up. Because then, you will be out, and it will be over. While Volleyball is a team effort, you have to independently awaken the warrior inside you. You have to fight for those passes, for those sets, for those hits. In doing so, you can move on to the next round and win that game.

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Life is game of endurance, the throwing yourself to the future, the yelling, the split-second decisions, the communication and the timing, the placement of your actions, the movement of your decisions. 100 long years seem to last forever yet end so quickly. Life is hard to win without a willingness to sacrifice. To recover from the hits, you have to be quick. You have to get your body to the next opportunity, because the only thing that matters in that moment. is keeping your options in play. You cannot let yourself lose. You cannot let yourself give up. Because then, you will be out, and it will be over. While life is a team effort, you have to independently awaken the warrior inside you. You have to fight for those laughs, for those tears, those smiles. In doing so, you can move on to the next round, and win that game.


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My Inspiration by Liz I come from a Mexican family that makes tamales. The smell makes my mouth water as we all sit at the table enjoying how good it tastes. Every bite is a reminder of when I was a little kid, my grandma making them for the family. We come from a small rancho in Durango, where everyone gets along. As you walk through the streets, you cannot help but see all the different animals and mountains over mountains. There, you feel happy. There, you feel free. I will always remember my dad, my inspiration. He had nothing and turned it into something. After years of struggling, he succeeded. He is a strong and caring man who can make my day go from bad to good with his smile

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and personality. Graduation is almost here I have come far. After years and years of school, it is almost at the end. After many obstacles that came my way, here comes the day that I will finally graduate.

The Beautiful Moments by Alondra A camera captures beautiful moments you want to keep. It captures all the wonders. A camera focuses on what is really important. It captures the good and the bad. But there is always room to take another shot. Capture the sense of life to share it forever. You can change your mistake by editing the bad out from that picture, or by taking more pictures, blocking, erasing, and editing photobombs.


Youth from La Academia and Noel Community Arts School

Don't Get Crushed Under a Piano by Priscilla When you get crushed by a piano, it hurts. You never want to leave your house. All you want to do is cry until humans get to live on the moon. Even though it hurts, people keep going back for more. People say, “Don’t judge other people by their looks,” but people do that when looking for a new “mate” Sometimes people already know the person they have a crush on could be a friend, co-worker, or a classmate. It is maybe the way they talk or the way they laugh. Or maybe it is the way they look at you. No matter what, you have a crush on them. You like them. Then you tell them and it happens all over again. When you tell them how you feel and they like you back, then you are in love. Then, CRASH! You get crushed under a piano again. It feels like you can never get out of this cycle. But one day, you catch the piano

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La Academia Speaks Forever Vol. 6

before it hurts you again. You see how powerful and amazing you are. With this strength, you catch/hold up boulders or pianos that come your way.

In 10 Years by Kevin In 10 years, I see myself with somebody starting my own family. I will be successful in my life, feeling good and free. I will not have to worry about anything because my life will be together, being happy with my family By then, all problems will be fixed, not having to stress out about anything. In 10 years, I will be a better person overall. In 10 years, the old me will be dead and a new better me will be born. In 10 years, I will feel good and free like a stallion. In 10 years, life will be better. Those 10 years start today.


Youth from La Academia and Noel Community Arts School

Thin Blue Line by Anonymous I dream of being a police officer. I want to help the community make good decisions. Some people throw fire at the blue family. Blue family has a family too. That is our job to protect people. So if you are a person who likes to have weapons and kill us, we are going to shoot back because we have family to go home to. People of color get mad because we sometimes shoot folks. Why? Because it is our safety to shoot back!!! I am going to be a good police officer. People will give me their hands and I will give my hands to them. What I mean by hands is love. I want my partners to believe in me. I want the community to love me.

Poems by Joslyn Poems are cool, only when I do not have to read them aloud. I use my pencil as a tool. If I read aloud, my heart starts to pound Leave me alone I am extremely shy. Do not pick on me because I am prone. Please do not ask me why!

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La Academia Speaks Forever Vol. 6  

La Academia Speaks Forever Vol. 6 (published 6/2/18)...written by participants in Cafe Cultura's Poetry/Spoken Word program (aka "Telling Ou...

La Academia Speaks Forever Vol. 6  

La Academia Speaks Forever Vol. 6 (published 6/2/18)...written by participants in Cafe Cultura's Poetry/Spoken Word program (aka "Telling Ou...

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