JBWC Young Writers Advocate for the Arts at the 2016 Erie County Budget Hearing for Cultural Funding
For the 2nd year in a row, JBWC young writers spoke to their legislators in support of the JBWC at the Erie County Budget Hearing for Cultural Funding last night. We are so proud of these young citizens for using the power of words as a means to participate in local governance at such a young age! Below are their remarks:
My name is Hemingway. I’m a Junior at Olmsted 156, and I have been a Youth Ambassador for the Just Buffalo Writing Center for about two years.
My name is Lucy. I am a Junior at City Honors, and have been a Youth Ambassador at Just Buffalo for a year and a half. The JBWC is a free creative writing center for teens that is designed to aid young writers in the cultivation of their writing skills. At the writing center, youth are invited to participate in weekly creative writing workshops led by a variety of teaching artists from around our community. These teachers show young writers the endless possibilities of writing. Whether exploring autobiographical comic writing, podcasting or issues of social justice through poetry, these workshops help young people develop their unique voices and give them a platform from which to share them. We cannot thank you enough for your support in this effort.
One of the most common comments we hear from visitors of the JBWC is that this unique place and the young writers who frequent it give them hope for the future. As JBWC young writer, Ates, writes, “At a time when opportunities for young people to express themselves seem to grow slimmer and slimmer, the JBWC is a place that offers hope because, whatever race, class, or identity, we come together and create—all inhibitions are gone.”
Therefore, we decided to ask parents, volunteers, staff, and young writers at Just Buffalo what people might see or hear at JB that gives them this hope. Here are some of their responses:
At the JBWC, you’ll see pens run furiously across blank pages, held by young people finally comfortable enough with themselves to let down their barriers.
You’ll hear nationally-ranked slam poets, yoga teachers, journalists, internationally-renowned novelists and local authors teach our future leaders the power of language.
You’ll hear parents, with tears in their eyes, say their children are so much happier since finding such a welcoming place to be themselves.
You’ll hear young people share their creations, pieces of themselves, on stages, from soapboxes, at local events, and on street corners before astonished audiences.
You’ll see a 14-year-old girl drop chapters of her first novel into the hands of a dedicated volunteer from a nearby college.
You’ll hear young people read aloud the words of those that often go unheard.
You’ll hear a transgirl rap about her worth, and a girl who was once afraid to speak in front of others stands on a stage and sing her first song.
You’ll hear the voices of tomorrow, today, ringing out in mature, respectful discussions, passionate individuals full of original ideas.
You’ll see that there is an abundance of imagination and good left in this world, and it is erupting, volcanically from these generous, literary teenagers.
You’ll hear the sound of young fingers on typewriters, typing words that have the drive and capability to change the world.
But most of all, you’ll see young people testing their voices and trusting their dreams. You’ll hear the next generation of writers growing.
It is so crucial that we continue to create and fund spaces that help young people like us become active, vocal citizens in their community. We thank you for giving us a platform and hope you’ll continue to support Just Buffalo in their efforts to amplify the voices of Buffalo’s youth.