Mediums for Change

Migration is Beautiful

Like the Monarch Butterflies who fly South when the air turns brisk and the Atlantic Salmon who move from freshwater to saltwater to feed and grow, migration occurs in many forms of natural life. Humans migrate to find safer spaces and to grow just as the animals do.  Our ancestors have moved throughout the planet for many reasons. The first humans migrated from Africa into Europe as their culture transformed. Many Pilgrims migrated to the Americas to seek a safe space to practice their religion. Indigenous tribes migrated throughout Nebraska and the plains seasonally to gather food. Our world is colored by a history of migration and our country can trace its diverse roots through this history of migration. The beauty that we see in our families, communities, and towns is due to the strength of our ancestors and their choice to migrate. Migration is natural. Migration is beautiful.

Think about your loved ones and their stories of migration. Imagine the pathways that they took, the goodbyes said, and the happiness and safety found. What is your story of migration? Have you moved throughout our world? What are your ancestors' stories of migration? What stories of migration have you heard from others, in school, or in other forms of expression? What do those stories mean to you?

Check out theses poems: "Mother Country" by Richard Blanco, "Another Country" by Ryan Teitman, and "Migration" by Ana Božičević. View these works: "Strangers" by Edel Rodriguez, and "Kurds" by Hayv Kahraman. 

Our Planet is Sacred

Our planet is our home. It's air allows us to breathe, its water gives us life, and its nature feeds our bodies. Our beautiful, bountiful lands give us adventure, give us ways to harness energy, and provide our homes. This planet gives to each of us every single day. Our history, as people, has not been kind to our world. Our search for new discoveries and new spaces has left lasting marks on our planet. We must move to protect this world. We must choose to protect our only home. Our planet is sacred and we must treat it with the respect that it deserves.

Think about the things that the Earth give to you. What things are you most thankful for that have come from the Earth? Think about a place that is sacred to you--under a tree, by a lake, within the mountains, on the land of your ancestors. What feelings does this sacred place bring to you? What would you do to protect this place that is sacred to you?

Check out theses poems: "Silent Sea" by Rachel Boast, "Sonnet XVII" & "Sonnet XII" by Craig Santos Perez, and "Mother Earth" by David Lee Yellowmoon Rose. View these works: "Artic Ocean (Northwest off the coast of Ellesmere Island, CAN), 83° 19’ 44.976”N, 79° 18’ 22.957”W, July 17th, 2017" by Zaria Forman, "Brecencia and Pheasant III" by Allison Janae Hamilton, "Liquid City: Now and Then" by Eve Mosher. and "Tree of Extinction" by Alexis Rockman. 

In Language Lies Power

Language is our primary tool for expression and communication. From the most normal to the most important, we use words to connect with others and express the things that we feel. Because we can connect with others so easily through language, it holds incredible power. When we don't have words, we create them; when we need to make change, we use them. Our world has over 7,000 languages. Because of this diversity, many people also find their identities and communities in places where they can make connection because of shared language. The things we choose to say and write are the vessel in which we connect with others. Our ability to connect is what makes us human. Our connections bring us joyand wholeness--our language can do this. Our connections are powerful and so is our language. 

Think about a time when words made you feel something--whether you spoke them, heard them, read them, or wrote them. What words are important to you? In what ways do you connect to language? Is the language that you speak a part of you identity? What value do you place on the language you speak? Has there been a time when words have hurt you or healed you?

Check out theses poems: "Forgotten Language" by Shel Silverstein, "The Old Language" by Ronald Stuart Thomas, "L-a-n-g-u-a-g-e Loss" by Alyza Garcia. View these works: "The Discomfort of Thought" by Christopher Wool, "If the Color Changes" by Mel Bochner, and "Philadelphia, Pennsylvania" by Steve Power. 

Everyone Deserves Justice

Everyone deserves to feel safe in their communities, have an equal say in government, have equal chances to achieve their goals, and enjoy all that life has to offer. All people deserve to feel this way--not just a select group at the expense of others. All people can prosper together. For all of us to thrive, we must all work towards a world where all people have justice. We must work towards a world where we all can live together, without fear. No one has to lose for other people to win. All people can thrive together. We choose to create this world where everyone receives the justice they deserve. 

Think about a world based on respect, mutual understanding, cooperation, and collective thriving. What would it be like if our society was no longer controlled by specific groups based on their gender, race, class, ability, or sexual orientation? What things could we accomplish if all people did not encounter barriers because of who they are? What could we do together if we all were able to thrive?

Check out theses poems: "A Woman Speaks" by Audre Lorde, "Justice" by Praveen Kumar, and "I, Too" by Langston Hughes. View these works: "Stand Tall Stand Loud" by Aaron Bell, "The Za'atari Project" by Joel Artista, and "Flight" by Marie Hoeber. 

My Voice Is My Own

Each of us have our own stories, thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Although we are influenced by the people around us, we all have our own beliefs. We all have the ability to speak up for the things that are important to us. Even though we won't all always agree, we won't always be in the majority, and we won't always be able to make change quickly we must not stop speaking. We must always push forward for a world where all voices are heard. We choose to foster a world where everyone's story can be heard and valued. We choose a world where my voice is my own. 

Think about a time when you spoke up for what you believed. How did you feel after speaking up? Are you glad that you spoke up? Think about a time when you chose not to speak up for what you believed. Do you wish that you would have? What parts of your life and experiences have shaped the way that you view the world? How valuable are your lived experiences to you?

Check out theses poems: "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou, "Scream" by Jasmin Kaur, and "Poem (I lived in the first century of the world wars)" by Muriel Rukeyser.  View "Minority Majority" by Theaster Gates and "Black Mass" by Annett Lemieux. Listen to the song "Listen" by Beyoncé 

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