Category Archives: Youth Summit

Become Your Own Writing Friend, A Writing Exercise By Victoria Hanley

When you are a friend to yourself, you can trust that friend with anything and everything. That friend is always there for you, no matter what you’re going through. To get started making friends with your inner writer, bring to mind something you’ve wanted to say but haven’t said. Maybe you’ve felt the need to spare someone’s feelings, or maybe the consequences of speaking would be too great and so you’ve decided to keep quiet, or maybe it’s another reason entirely. Whatever the reason, you’ve wanted to speak up, but you haven’t done so.

For this exercise, use a piece of paper and pencil or pen. Only use a computer if it has a shredder program. Write down exactly what you want to say. When you’ve finished, feed the piece of paper you’ve written on into a shredder machine or tear it up into tiny pieces. (If your computer has a shredder program, delete what you’ve written and then shred it.)

Why write and then get rid of what you’ve written? Because the inner writer can be quite shy and needs to feel safe. Sometimes that means creating a space where what you write is truly personal to you and there isn’t any chance of someone else reading it unless you want them to read it. Doing this exercise every day for a week will encourage your inner writer to come out and play.


Victoria Hanley, Writing for Peace AdviserVictoria Hanley spent years preparing for a writing career by holding as many contrasting jobs as possible, from baking bread to teaching anatomy and hosting radio shows.  Victoria’s novels have been published in 12 languages, won many honors and awards at home and abroad, and inspired two nonfiction writing books: Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write, and Wild Ink: Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market. She teaches writing at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver and at Northern Colorado Writers in Fort Collins. Learn more about Victoria’s books, read her blog, download a free chapter of Wild Ink, and watch Victoria in action at www.victoriahanley.com.


Writing for Peace News

September 17th, 2019

Online Youth Summit

Our Youth Summit has been postponed until Spring of 2020.

Young Writers Contest: One Grand Prize winner will be awarded $200

Our 2020 Young Writers Contest is officially open!  Writing for Peace challenges young writers (ages 13-19) to expand their empathy skills by researching an unfamiliar culture and writing from the point-of-view of a character within that new world, while exploring social, political, and environmental pressures, and universal themes. There is no fee for participation. Writers, ages 13-19, may submit in one of three categories – poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. Check out our Submission Guidelines here.

Teachers, we invite you to make our contest a regular part of your writing curriculum. Contact us at editor@writingforpeace.org for information on how to develop empathy through creative writing.

Now Reading for February Issue of DoveTales Online

The reading period for our next DoveTales Online, Guest Edited by Writing for Peace Adviser, Robert Kostuck is now open. He has themed our February issue, “Gardens in the Desert: Cultivating Awareness.” Check submission guidelines for details.

DoveTales Online

Check out Summer Edition of DoveTales at DoveTales Online, One World, One People. Find work from our panel of advisers, emerging, and award-winning writers and artists, as well as the winning stories, poems and essays from our 2019 Young Writers Contest.

Grant Writer Opportunity

Writing for Peace is looking for a grant writer with experience with writing literary and youth advocacy grants. We are a 501c3 nonprofit. Please contact us at editor@writingforpeace.org.

Writing for Peace Adviser Events

Christ Church Poetry Series

 Hosted by Writing for Peace Adviser Djelloul Marbrook

The second reading in this series, in honor of the late poet John Ashbery, features poets Gretchen Primack, Karen Schoemer and Vladimir Nahitchevansky. It is held in conjunction with the church’s highly regarded periodic book sales. A preview of the book sale and reception is scheduled for 6 p.m. The poetry reading, hosted by Djelloul Marbrook, is at 7 p.m. Christ Church, 431 Union St, Hudson, NY 12534-2426, United States.

 

Copyright © 2019 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

Every Conversation on Peace Matters: The 2019 Online Youth Summit

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Every Conversation on Peace Matters:
Our 2019 Online Youth Summit

By Mary Carroll-Hackett

In Spring 2014, I had a guest speaker in the two sections of a Writing for Active Citizenship I was teaching, a combat-decorated Marine and Longwood alum, who had asked to speak to my classes about local political engagement. He began his presentation by projecting a large photo, one that had played across the media for months, of the 2013 Egyptian Revolution. Even with the picture filled with images of the Egyptian flag, not a single student in the two sections, not one in forty, could identify what was taking place in the picture.

The next class period, I asked them why they felt that had happened. Their answers covered a range of reasons for what they themselves called disconnect, from not knowing what media to trust, to being too busy surviving their own lives, to the one they all agreed upon: being overwhelmed with the fear and sadness such connection created, overwhelmed in the face of twenty-four hour news coverage which led to what they said paralyzed them most: feeling overwhelmed with helplessness. I asked them how we, as educators, could help with that, how we could help them connect. I asked them What would you most connect to—listen to? Their answer: our peers. They all said they wanted two things in support of creating such a personal global connection: to hear from “people who look like us, our age,” and to learn about real, doable actions they could make in their daily lives, as both a way to help those who needed it across the planet, and as a way to combat their own feelings of helplessness.

This is how the Writing for Peace Online Youth Summit came into being.
As we prepare for the third annual summit, to take place Saturday, October 12, 2019, we are more committed than ever to honoring what those young people seek, and to both take and create every opportunity we can to advance conversations that will move us all toward more understanding and compassion.

This year, we are particularly focusing on the What Can We Do question posed by the young people with whom we’ve spoken. Our 2019 keynotes are all young activists who have been working for real change on the front-lines of their communities, and who have been engaged in this way since they were very young. They exemplify the power and effect young people can have in their own communities, and the vision of leaders who, rather than a future preying on fear and dividing us, will work, as they already are, to build community where we care and support each other.

Taikein Cooper 2019 PhotoTaikein Cooper was canvassing throughout Virginia’s communities as an 11-year-old to help elect his D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) teacher, Travis Harris, as Prince Edward County’s Sheriff, beginning the life of service he now lives, in local and regional politics and service initiatives, and as Executive Director of Virginia Excels, an education advocacy organization that focuses on educational equity by amplifying the voices of students and families. He also co-hosts the socio-political podcast, Ain’t No Free Lunch, with Ms. Danielle Greene.

Hazel Edwards 2019 PhotoHazel Edwards is an artist, community advocate and educator, who works as The Educator and Outreach Specialist in The Bryson Institute of The Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia. Among numerous other advocacy projects, Hazel has presented and led workshops in Philadelphia and across the country for hundreds of service providers and youth on gender, sexuality, racism, and antioppression. She also co-facilitated a 9-month high school social justice internship, where she taught 18 interns on systems of oppression and organizing skills. In 2016, Hazel was instrumental in co-authoring the School District of Philadelphia’s Policy 252, which created protections for transgender and gender nonconforming students.

Jason Tsai 2019 photoJason Tsai, a young leader dedicated to working in support of food access, especially in urban food deserts, has worked as an urban agriculture fellow and food distribution coordinator at Tricycle Urban Ag, in Richmond, Virginia. There, he worked on urban farms to grow and distribute organic produce through corner store partners for food desert communities. He specializes in the art of making “good” food that is responsible to the soul and to the earth.

Marni von Wilpert 2019 PhotoMarni von Wilpert, a young attorney originally from San Diego, served in the Peace Corps in Botswana, Africa from 2006 to 2008, working on treatment, prevention, and care for children and adults living with HIV/AIDS, then went on as one of 28 young legal professionals nationwide to be awarded the Skadden Fellowship for Public Interest law, where she worked with the Mississippi Center for Justice to create the first HIV-related civil rights law practice in the state to provide free legal services to people living with HIV/AIDS facing discrimination in employment, housing, and access to healthcare. Marni also worked as an Associate Labor Counsel for the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., monitoring and evaluating federal and state legislation and regulations affecting workers’ rights, wages and working conditions. Marni moved back home to San Diego in 2017 and now works as a Deputy City Attorney in the Civil Litigation Division of the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. She is a graduate of Emerge California and is running for San Diego City Council in the 2020 election cycle.

Each of these amazing people have stories to tell of their own activist journeys, as well as wisdom, experience, and advice to offer to our summit participants, on how each of us can work toward change, toward, justice, toward peace, in our own communities, in our daily lives.

In addition to the keynotes, we’re inviting submissions of creative work from all over the world, and especially interested in multilingual work, on any topic creatively exploring working toward peace in daily ways.

This year’s summit, with its conversations on the power of individual, community, and grassroots activism, exploring what we as individuals can do in our day to day lives to work toward the peace we all desire and deserve, reminds us: One person can make a difference. Together, we can change the world. We sincerely hope you’ll join us.

Mary Carroll-Hackett, Writing for Peace Adviser2Mary Carroll-Hackett is an adviser and member of the Writing for Peace Board of Directors, and the author of The Real Politics of LipstickAnimal Soul, If We Could Know Our Bones, The Night I Heard Everything, Trailer Park Oracle, and A Little Blood, A Little Rain. Her newest collection of prose poems, Death for Beginners, will be out from Kelsey Books in September 2017. Learn more about Writing for Peace Adviser Mary Carroll-Hackett and her work here.

Copyright © 2019 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

2016 Youth Summit Now Public

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“Listen to Me” created by Paula Dawn Lietz, artist-in-residence

The last weekend of April, Writing for Peace hosted our first annual Youth Summit to provide a safe place for young writers, artists, and activists (ages 18-30) to discuss aspects of peace, artistic expression, and activism, as well as the chance to engage with keynote speakers and develop their craft through educational opportunities.

During the event, work and conversation is not shared publicly, allowing for uninhibited self-expression. Participants are offered the opportunity to remove work and comments before the summit is shared publicly.

2016 Writing for Peace Inaugural Online Youth Summit

Participants shared and discussed their own work. For those interested, we offered a workshop on Peace Journalism, taught by Dr. Elissa Tivona, and given the opportunity to accept assignments and join the ranks of our Peace Journalists in our developing Writing for Peace Journalism Program. They also watched and discussed Dr. Erica Chenoweth’s TED Talk on Nonviolent Resistance. You’ll find links to these and the key note speeches on the site. We welcome you to peruse the site’s content and discussion. Comments have been disabled there, but can be directed to Writing for Peace on this page, or through our contact page. Comments are moderated.

Topic:
“What I Would Say If I Knew They Were Listening, Conversations on Peace”

Keynote Speakers include:

Lyla June Johnston, Writing fr Peace Young AdviserLyla June Johnston is a Navajo poet and peace activist from Taos, New Mexico, who has found her home in the service of humanity. After studying Human Ecology at Stanford University, Lyla founded Regeneration Festival, an annual celebration and honoring of children and young adults worldwide.

Natan Blanc, Writing for Peace Young AdviserNathan Blanc is an Israeli who refused to serve in the IDF (Israeli army) “because of its actions against the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.” Nathan held fast to his convictions, despite being sentenced 10 times, to a total of 178 days in jail. Nathan’s struggle was first of all a struggle for the freedom of conscience, but it was also a struggle for peace between the Jews and the Arabs in Israel.

Amal KassirAmal Kassir is a 20 year old Syrian‐American spoken word artist. Born and raised most her life in Denver, CO, she came from a dinner table of tabouleh and meat loaf, Arab father and American mother, best meals of both worlds. She runs a project called More than Metaphors that focuses on the education initiative for displaced Syrian children, but uses the grass roots to bring communities together for all conversations.

Damilola

D.M. Aderibigbe was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He graduated with a BA in History and Strategic Studies from University of Lagos in 2014. His chapbook, In Praise of Our Absent Father was selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for the APBF New Generation African Poets Chapbook Series. He is the recipient of 2015 and 2016 fellowships and honours from Oristaglio Family Foundation, Entrekin Foundation, Dickinson House, Callaloo and Boston University where he is currently an MFA candidate in creative writing.

Writing for Peace is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating empathy through education and creative writing in order to develop a foundation of compassion on which to build a more peaceful world. Our goal is to inspire and guide young writers (and other artists) to refine their craft and consider the many ways their writing focus can bring us closer to nonviolent conflict resolution, a society that values human rights, as well as environmental and economic sustainability.

 

Copyright © 2016 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

D.M. Aderibigbe Joins Advisory Panel

Damilola 1Writing for Peace welcomes D.M. Aderibigbe to our panel of young advisers and Youth Summit keynote speakers. Aderibigbe was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He graduated with a BA in History and Strategic Studies from University of Lagos in 2014. His chapbook, In Praise of Our Absent Father was selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for the APBF New Generation African Poets Chapbook Series (purchase information below). He is the recipient of 2015 and 2016 fellowships and honours from Oristaglio Family Foundation, Entrekin Foundation, Dickinson House, Callaloo and Boston University where he is currently an MFA candidate in creative writing. 

Says Aderibigbe:

“A few months ago, several children were burnt to death in my native country (of course this happens everyday now.) I posted this to my Facebook, with the caption ‘the real face of the world.’ One of my poet-friends commented and said, ‘Dami, this post won’t change the mind of the world, but your writing can. Keep writing those necessary poems you have been churning out.’ It dawned on me that day, that all along I have been writing for peace.”

Two Poems by D.M. Aderibigbe:

NEW HELL

Fire burnt on a cold morning:
he screamed “E mi o mo nkankan,
I’m innocent” until his voice was

swallowed by the ravenous fire.
The woman arrived at the scene
to see her love had become ashes.
She poured tears before a broken
statue of Oshun.
I and my two siblings stood, staring —

our skins, veiled by Akure’s harmattan.
Police sirens were a muezzin’s voice
that slashed through the morning for solat;

the vigilantes, who made the fire
that melted the life of their thief
without proof he was thief,

dispersed into our bewilderment.
Guns and truncheons lay
on the road, casualties in a war —
torn country.
Police led the new widow to a van.
I and my two siblings stood, staring.

The fire died.
 

 

ELEGY FOR MY MOTHERS

Let’s not pretend the sky
is always plaited with beauty,
even the gods are not too perfect.
On my grandmother’s skin,
the heaven doesn’t stop
crying for 13 years– God’s
eyes are patched with red.
A schoolboy’s body–
her only son– empty
like a soda can
found at the doorway
of his mother’s store.
All the women in his life gather
around what the police’s anger
has left of him: each calling
his name, as though death
is a disease noise could cure.
Each calls his name,
their breasts flapping like clothes
on a line driven by wind. Lord,
is this what it takes to be a woman?

 

D.M. Aderibigbe’s poems appear in numerous journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, Colorado Review, Ninth Letter, Prairie Schooner, RATTLE, Stand and elsewhere and featured on Verse Daily. Spillway recently nominated his poem for a 2017 Puschcart prize. His first manuscript is a 2015 and 2016 finalist for The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. He’s also an essayist, with essays in Blueshift Journal, B O D Y and Rain Taxi. He knows God loves you.

To purchase his chapbook, In Praise of Our Absent Father, send $10 through PayPal to dammyg1989@gmail.com. Also, send your mailing address to the same email and you’ll receive your copy within a week.

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Writing for Peace News

Call for Participants: Online Youth Summit

Join young artists and writers, ages 18-30, in conversation about the matters you care about in this online Youth Summit.

Summit Dates: April 29th, 30th and May 1st

Submission Deadline: April 25th

Topic:
“What I Would Say If I Knew They Were Listening, Conversations on Peace”

Fees: There is no fee for participation in this summit, with thanks to a generous grant from Longwood University in Virginia, United States of America.

Participation:  In order to provide a safe environment for participants to express themselves, this event is closed to the public. Participants are invited guests, ages 18-30, and will be given the password for admittance to the Summit following the acceptance of their submissions.

Description: In this online summit, 100 invited participants from schools and colleges in the US, Mexico (through Colectiva Poéticas), and Canada will have the opportunity to submit and present their creative work on the following theme: “What I Would Say If I Knew They Were Listening, Conversations on Peace”.

Submissions will be accepted in the following areas: Creative Writing, Visual Arts, Music, Theatre, and Dance. For more information and to submit your work, go to Youth Summit.

2016 DoveTales “Family and Cultural Identity” Edition

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceOur fourth edition of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts will be released on May 1st! Links will go up soon, and if you are in the Fort Collins area we hope you will join us for our Book Release Celebration Reading! Check out the details and RSVP at Book Launch Celebration.

Copyright © 2016 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.