The second day of class at TYWLS-Q came the day after Election Day. The young women who make up the two ninth grade classes at TYWLS-Q are primarily women of color, many of whom are first generation Americans. That being said, there were a number of emotions felt around the room; fear, anger, frustration, etc. Many of the students wanted to talk about what happened as soon as they came into the room. Their Teaching Artist, Katie Rainey, started the class with a journaling exercise in order to get their minds, hearts and thoughts straight before jumping into a discussion. This opened up the opportunity for the girls to not only express their feelings, but to experiment with how they wanted to convey them.
Sharnice, a soft-spoken girl who often sits in the corner, was the first brave person to share what she’d written, which happened to take the shape of a poem:
Today, the world seemed to fall silent
everyone with their heads down
not even the lady who screams
‘hello New York’ on the subway
had joy in her voice
This approach allowed the girls the time to reflect on their thoughts and to see the world from another’s perspective. What followed was an essential, lively discussion about their role in the future of this country and in the world.