On June 29, 2017, MelaNation and BYP100 DC members Maya Cole and Jordan DeLoach and BYP100 DC Co-Chair Je’Kendria Trahan facilitated poetry and zine-making workshops with campers at Girls Rock! DC. Girls Rock! DC is a music education summer camp that aims to create inclusive and empowering spaces for girls, trans, and non-binary youth in the DC area.
Don’t underestimate the power and knowledge of the youth! At the workshop, we engaged in discussions about activism and the Movement for Black Lives with campers as young as eight and as old as eighteen. Then, the campers created mini-zines and wrote poetry based on a series of prompts related to empowerment and activism.
The poem pictured above (“They say our country is free and just/ but it’s not what I see”) was created by a camper who decorated their zine in various shades and shapes of gold paper. Another camper created a zine called “The Fashion Zine” that celebrated her love of fashion, and described fashion as a way for Black people to show their pride for the culture and stand up against the mainstream. Another camper used their zine to describe relations between Black communities and police, writing, “All we want is to be free. You don’t want my hands on you, don’t put your hand on me.” These campers are truly brilliant.
We are honored to have been able to participate in Girls Rock! DC this year. Thank you to all of the Girls Rock! DC volunteers and staff members (including MelaNation member Ruth Tyson!) who work tirelessly to create such an inclusive and creative space for youth in the DMV! And if you’re interested in bringing a MelaNation poetry and zine-making workshop to a youth group near you, please visit our Workshops page to learn more.