Hello Again. My name is Soledad Alfaro-Allah. If you have been following my blog posts you will know that my focus had been on gun violence and the acts of gun violence in the community, especially in places of education. I looked at many places in which to talk about the issue and interpret it. With such recent accidents such as the sandy hook incident and multiple other school shootings that have happened over the years has left us looking at the responsibility of out culture and obtaining from guns and assault weapons completely. If you are not familiar with the sandy hook incident Click here for more information on that. The main thing that I had noticed throughout this project however is that the people who should have a voice simply to not have one when it comes to issues such as this. The people I am referring to is the students of not just Philadelphia but all across America who are victims of severe gun violence and the after effects that it puts on people. For my Agent of change project I decided to help students in philadelphia who are my age and older find their voices through something that I love doing. Poetry. I am a Philly youth poet involved with an organization called Slam League which is where high school’s from all over Philadelphia join together to share original poetry. I decided to impact the topic of poetry in Philly by giving my fellow high schooler’s something to write about. Gun violence. I had the privilege of running a PYPM workshop and the topic that I decided to focus on was gun violence in our schools. How it impacts us, and how we respond to it. Many of the kids said well it is something that we cannot help and it is just the way things are. For others they wanted to recognize their voice and help be apart of the solution of gun violence. We talked about what are some of the causes of gun violence in schools. What are some of the things that cause people to act this way? Columbine was a raised topic of conversation. It had been said that the boys who had shot the school and committed an awful act of terrorism were bullied. Bullying was one of the factors that we came up with during this discussion, along with mental problems, because of the man who was responsible for the incident at sandy hook and to my surprise religious beliefs and the topic of the world trade center bombing came up. An event that made many people look at war and violence in a different way. Click here for a poem about one man’s struggle through it. These different acts of violence affect us in so many different ways as students and citizens of this city. The following question was how did and or do these events affect us now. The way that we go to school to work to places in general what affect do they have on us? We talked about security in schools and how they have become similar to prisons. Where children are now expected to do wrong so they are given metal detectors and sometimes pat downs to go through. Philadelphia schools in many ways go to security extremes to insure some of the “safety” in their schools. The workshop was concluded with a prompt. The prompt that I had given for the kids to write about was how does gun violence affect you? The community that we live in? and our education? Out of this workshop I had been surprised to enter slam league hearing poems about homosexuality and the factor of bullying and how that causes violence in schools. Another poem I heard was called “WAR” by a boy name Jawan. The poem talked about gun violence in schools and how the death of boys and girls is creating a war zone in schools. A poem that I had written called similes of music spoke of the uprising culture and children staying strong passing down memories and love from music. With the outlet of creation and anti incarceration behind it. Click here for the video of that poem. The workshop I had given created an overwhelming amount of love and appreciation for the voices of young people that we had given ourselves.I hope one day we will be able to break free and take our poetry to those who are not convinced and impact their lives in such a way that they realize how they themselves can make an impact to make the world more beautiful. The love that was given to SLA after we had performed a persona piece about two gay women who were subjected to violence to for being homosexual which we performed at our semifinal. Click here for a link to the poem. In doing this project through an outlet that I am passionate about it showed me that not only violence in schools impacts the way we are taught or adapt to education. In many cases it can make us one side minded and be victims and or offenders of discrimination. Another poem that was written by a girl named Fufu who had addressed the struggle of being muslim and how many people did not trust her or her family because of her religious beliefs and because of the violence committed by others. This project makes me want to continue giving young people a voice through all ways of art to make the world a more beautiful place because without us there would be no future, so America prepare to hear the louder voice of a younger nation!
Click here to subscribe to the sla poetry team youtube channel.
Click here for my blog 2
Click here for my blog 1
Click here for my bibliography.