Carlos & Safiya

Immigration & tSB

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Last week we celebrated May Day with a program focused on immigration. Many tSB participants understand the challenges and beauty of being an immigrant first hand, or see it on a daily basis. To set the tone, we invited tSB alumnus and recent 2014 Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam Champion Carlos Nieto to share one of his poems:

This is for every time a politician on the news made you feel less than human.
This is for wanting to go to college but being the only person in your class that can’t sign up for FAFSA.
This is for being afraid to tell people where you’re from.
This is for being of ashamed of telling your best friends where your mom works.
This is for watching your mom work so hard for years just to feel American.
This is for silenced voices and tired dreams.
You wouldn’t think I was an immigrant.
Yes, I understand your pop-culture references,
I hit my Dougie with you,
I laugh with you,
I do homework with you,
I fought with you,
I fought for you,
I am dating you,
I am your best friend,
The person who told you you dropped your wallet this morning on the bus,
I am serving your drinks,
Taking care of your kids,
I even speak the same language as you. I barely have my accent anymore.
Even my clothes don’t give me away: shirt from Columbia, boxers from Portugal, hat from Peru, shit even our clothes our immigrants too!
So why do you hate me so much?
Why do you call me illegal? As if existing was a crime.
White American, conservative politicians, I am not illegal.
I am not a criminal.
Criminal is profiting off of people being stuck in a prison cell.
Criminal is denying food stamps to people who actually need them.
Criminal is tearing apart families that are already on three legs.
Criminal is feeling unsafe in Arizona.
Criminal is killing people at the border instead of detaining them.
Criminal are free trade agreements that screw over farm workers, why do you think we are here in the first place?
Do not talk to me about criminal, America. The only reason I go to college, as cliché as it sounds, is it to one day have a good enough job to my mom a house she can call her own because God only knows how much she has sacrificed for me.
Talking about how “illegal aliens mooch off the system.”
We pay taxes just like you: Sales, property, federal, you name it!
Talking about how “letting illegal aliens are running this country to the ground by stealing all the jobs.
WE DO NOT STEAL YOUR JOBS. We steal your jobs the same way people of color steal white people’s places at universities, WE DO NOT STEAL YOUR JOBS.
IF WE STEAL YOUR JOBS THEN YOU STOLE THIS LAND, except that’s actually true.
We wake up in the morning to go to work just like you.
Never seen.
On the run.
We don’t run this shit but we make this shit run. You’re welcome for the $300 billion in your social security trust fund. WE will NEVER see a penny of it.
You need us America. You have always needed us.
Who do you think built you? What do you think you’re made out of?
So stop throwing money at the border expecting us to go away.
Stop trying to push us under the rug.
Stop talking about “catch and release” methods as if we are animals.
We are human.
We are human just like you.
We are Americans just like you.
We are immigrants. Just. Like. You.

Poem by Carols Nieto, tSB class of 2011 & 2012

Poetry Night

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Robin guides tSB in learning the impact of expression, projection, body language, and flow for speaking out and letting one’s voice be heard. Poetry & Rhymes=Good times shared with each other at the hall.

Jaesun’s Ode to tSB

By | Deep end of the pool, Service projects | No Comments

This was too beautiful NOT to post. Thank you Jaesun!

Gotta get up early, don’t wanna be late. Gotta get to tSB, got a service date.
Cleanin’ parks, trying to build community. One goal. One mind. Strong is our unity.
Won’t be beaten, shattered or tattered.
Stick together like glue, we some bad mamma-jammas.
On the mountain we conquer the powder and when we get thirsty, Odwalla we devour.
We got the spirit, we got the power to change the world hour by hour!

The youth speak with Youth Speaks

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A couple of weeks ago tSB brought in Youth Speaks to do a poetry workshop. It was incredible.  Below is a sample of some of the work Irene produced that night.

Dear December:

You keep me up all night.
You’ve cried on every single shirt I own, but I still don’t know you.
I”m the kind of person your parents hate, but then again,
your parents hate everything.
You’re always cold,
And I hold your blue hands to my neck and just breathe.

Never getting why everyone hates you,
The ground needs to sleep,
and its not like you stole it, you just hid it for a bit,
Its almost your way of rewarding us,
the ones who are happy to see it again.

You never close your curtains,
so the neighbors close theirs
and you sit drunkenly on fire escapes and keep me from escaping,
we both hate hotel parties.

You go bathing suit shopping
when the mall’s empty
And you like to sleep with the TV on,
Because its just too damn quiet outside with you around.

You drink 7-11 coffee by the gallon
And write by the light of your iPod when the power’s down.
“Hip, Hop, Hip, Hop…”
Dead Prez lights the way for your shitty handwriting
till the batteries die,

Then again you’d usually rather sleep anyway,
Hibernate, Contemplate,
Drive your own autumn hangover the rest of the way away,

Your room’s a wreck,
Just how you like it,
You’ve stashed all your shit in other people’s cars,
So your sisters won’t blow it away,
You like your random shit just like
I like you
But I still don’t get why your mother hates me, anyway.