I haven’t written about Brave New Voices in a while but others have. Around Halloween season, a piece by The DC Youth Slam Team was aggregated by Upworthy and written about in Huff Post Women. To give you a brief sample of the difference this made in traffic, it’s been watched 1.25 million times. The next most popular video had 175 thousand hits and the rest are below 60 thousand, closer to 10-20 thousand. Thats the strength of their message, it spread at 7 times the rate of the next most watched video.
We decided to write a poem changing the way we see monsters; [to show that] women can be fierce, hot-tempered, or what have you. We connected this to Halloween and how as girls grow older, they are convinced that their costumes must get skimpier and show more skin to be sexy. After brainstorming, we realized that our key point was women should wear what they want. Slut-shaming is not the answer, nor is peer pressuring women and girls to wear sexier outfits if they don’t want to. – Hannah Halpern
My previous BNV2013 posts were about how these young people are better at dealing with each other than previous generations and that they’re working to begin a creative ecosystem. The nitty-gritty of that whole process happened during a series of Town Halls on Violence; Gender-Based Violence, Economic Violence, Immigration as Violence, Armed Violence. The important thing to remember about these videos is that they are of real youth voices, shot by other teens and moderated by young adult leaders. The only adult intervention was Youth Speaks organizing the event and my editing the footage.
This is an overview of all the Town Halls on Violence
This is the Immigration Town Hall
These are some of the things that are on the minds of the young people who are willing to pick up the pieces after we tear each other apart. Youth Speaks planted some seeds in the fertile soil that is the topic of violence and this is what they grew out of it. Of the 3 comments that The Internet left for the Immigration Town Hall, one suggested that this is neo-marxist training. Another asked if it is from America because there were no white people, “Might as well be Mexico.” The 3rd comment is the one that gives me hope:
America has been racist since its inception and you reflect that historical violence when you suggest that young people who seek a life based on principles of love, community, voice, and empowerment, are therefore “anti white” or “marxist”. It seems these young people have more faith in you than you do in them and in the future of this country. It seems they reflect the constitution of the United States more than you. #bnv2013 #OurAmerica #lovelookslikethis – Bayana Davis