Saturday, April 25, 2020

Did Covid-19 Ruin my 6th Grade Year?

Nyvaeh: 6th Grader

Last year, I was attending school dances, hanging with friends and imagining that my 6th grade year would be similar. After winter break, I thought we would come back to school, and I would be able to end my 6th grade year strong! Covid-19 ruined the 6th grade year for me and others. We don’t have school Monday-Friday, instead, I do most of my weekly work in one day. At first I thought being out of school was going to be fun and cool, like during winter break. Now, I have to check Google Classroom and my school email to get notification about what is going on.

This year, my teachers have made so much progress with me because I used to not like going to school this year, because the work became harder. But my teachers have been patient, and I’ve started to enjoy going because they’ve helped me understand the work better. Now, I’m tired of my video games fest. When we first left school, my school didn’t make school work mandatory. Last week, they made it mandatory so my days of playing games are over. But that’s ok, even though I don’t enjoy just working on a computer. In school, we had a lot of help from the teachers and now we can’t get all of that. I don’t like it.

I’m still adjusting but I’m learning that I don’t just want to play video games. Some things that have helped pass time has been spending time with my family. Whether it’s watching a movie, playing and learning new card games, or making up games to play, I’ve enjoyed my family time. I had to come up with a schedule to make sure I have a daily routine (my white board is called daily responsibilities), and structure (my aunts said). I wish I could end my 6th grade year with school dances and hanging with friends, but this will always be a part of my memory. Hopefully 7th grade year will go back to school dances, hanging with friends, and being in person with our teachers teaching us.

 I hope that you and your family are able to stay safe during this time! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Abstract Gymnast: How I balance School, Gymnastics, and a Painting Career.

K'Aniyah: Second Grader 
In Conversation with K'Aniyah, painter and owner of Sairyah's Swirls.
"Many times I paint in swirls before shifting the paint to cover the canvas"

When did you first know you loved art ?
I knew I first loved art when I first tried it with my mom. The first time I loved doing abstract fluid art was when my step dad T showed my mom and I how to create the fluid art that he was creating.

What inspires you when sitting down to paint/draw ?
Colors are my inspiration. Each color mean something to me or the person that my custom orders are being made for.

What does your process look like? Techniques, Typical time length to finish a piece, etc.
My process involves me gathering all my materials which include, the canvas, paint and cups.Next I hand pick the colors for my canvas. The colors are handed picked based on what a customer might request request whereas my freestyle paintings are just three random colors.I began by pouring the paint in cups either in a layer or in individual cups. After that I pour the cups of paint onto the canvas allowing them to sit upside down until all the paint has been released. I then remove the cups and begin to tilt the canvas side to side, up and down until the entire canvas is covered. Once the entire canvas is covered I place the canvas on a rack and allow it to air dry for about 8-12 hours or until finished depending on how big the canvas is.

What challenges have you found on the business side, both positive and negative? (money, selling, networking, etc)
The positives would be helping people find the right painting that fits them because
occasionally people struggle with deciding which painting they would like to purchase and
take home with them. The negative aspects of the business would be the negative comments
from people. I also like to be in the front at vending events but that doesn’t always occur so,
it adds a little frustration to the process.

How do you balance your time as a student and an artist?
Balancing out my week with being a student, artist and gymnast isn't as hard as it seems.
On Monday and Wednesday I go to gymnastics after school. On the weekends, from Friday
to Sunday I am an artist making beautiful creations and selling my work.

What are your next steps as an artist?
My next step is creating merchandise. I will be putting my creative mind to work and applying designs to clothing items, phone cases, coasters, tables etc.

Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years I would love to be living in California with my family, selling paintings and
other merchandise while watching all my dreams unfold.

Are you planning on going to college, if so would you major in art?
If not, what else is it that interests you?
When I go to college I will major in either Art, Psychology or Science. I am not sure which field just yet but I have time to think about that.

What aspects of art are you interested in exploring next?
I am interested in Animation, Architecture, and Calligraphy. These are just a few aspects
of art that i would like to explore as time go on and i learn more techniques.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


Shirmina: "Artivist" and Doula-in-Training

The sky opens its mouth to curse at me
And i feel at home
The clouds cry a song wet and heavy
And i sing
The air flashes it's teeth
Bright and brief
And i offer stillness
I sit by the window
Captivated by the chaos
Just this night alone,
It calls out to me a thousand times
And I blush at how well an uproar knows my name
Ceraunophilia is the fascination with thunderstorms
I swallowed one once
And have been in love with them ever since
I was born a dew drop
Quiet and undemanding
The ghost of a cry
The chip on the shoulder of a rainstorm
I was born so soft you’d have no idea i came from wreckage
petals so delicate, you’d have no idea a monsoon fed me
But as a black woman
With a family full of black women
Anger and violence blowing thru our limbs
We cover ourselves in tribulations
To teach our skin the touch of a tornado
On the sunniest of days
I YouTube tropical rainstorm sounds to soothe my anxiety
How ironic
To use a storm against another
But i never knew any better
When the eyes of every hurricane look like my mothers
When my dad cracked like lightning
And disappeared like it too
When my aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins
All have tempers like tempests
How can i not love a storm?
It is what both fed and burned my family tree
I am fueled by hot wind and clap-backs
Intoxicated by things shaken and stirred
I don’t understand the comfort of calm
Seems untrustworthy to me
Like it got something to say
Mother nature taught me how to roll a storm off my tongue
So i’m always raining
Always rumbling
Cursed and coarse
I am most myself when i’m angry
I look most like my mother when i’m yelling
And when she died
I inherited her rage
And carried it in my jaw
A bloodline of belligerence
Siphoned thru me like a cyclone
All our mouths are storms at sea
Our tongues
Bolts of lightning that strike the same place on the regular
We don’t mean to be like this
In a perpetual state of pissed the fuck off
Raining on parades
But i don’t remember who i am without all this uproar
I tried to cry out all this rainfall
I tried to shout the storm out of my throat
My anxiety shakes the sky so hard
The night falls to my feet
My rage dances in black and steps on all the stars
I am so exhausted of bad weather
I just wanna get to the rainbow

Thursday, March 21, 2019

What His Eyes Don't See

High School Sophmore

Chocolate skin with chocolate eyes dark brown hair and frown shaped lips
Little to no curves other than my stomach and a butt that resembles Spongebob's tush
Football arms and real fat thighs
Scraps on my knees, and scabs on my calf
Very wide feet with veins popping out
One long big toe with a bird’s beak shaped scar
One meaty big toe with a scar straight down
Very long lashes super thick brows
With An Afro as my preferred style
Sweats that make my butt look presentable
Threw on baggy shirt to hide my alluring boobs
Moles on my arms
A mole on my lip
Super fat cheeks that love to get squeezed near
ears so small that you can barely see
My nails are chipping,
My hands are ashy
I have very dry skin and an annoying uni-brow
When I take a picture, my legs look weird
I can’t push my caves back or arch my spine  
My knees crack when I bend
The palms of my hands don’t touch the ground unless I’m almost in split position
I am not athletic nor am I fit
My hair is short with ends that are split
The curls in my hair are not defined unless they are wet and when they are dry, they are considered “not presentable”
Yet, I still hear wolf whistles
They yell, “aye ma”  
I hear the damnnnn’s as I pass
But I know to not fall for such trickery
Because he won’t want me when he sees the unholy that I behold
I was not made to please the male eye but yet I do
My body was made for ME
And even though it can be annoying
I still look in the mirror and say
Prettygirl is what my dad calls me and a prettygirl I am
My beauty is far beyond what anyone can see,
Behind closed doors
My beauty is set free

Friday, February 15, 2019

Unexpected Growth

Major: Social Work 

Before I attended college, I would always ask myself what it would be like if I went to a predominately white institution. Thinking about how different it would be, whether the people at my school would like me and if racism was an ordeal I would be forced to face. Being an African American woman, a Haitian woman at that, made it difficult for me to get adjusted. I am the first person in my family to go to a university , so all the pressure was, and still is on me. I enjoy my college, it brought out the maturity in me and that is something I admire about myself. I attended a summer program at my university and my first roommate was Caucasian. At first it was weird because she kept to herself and would go home every weekend, leaving barely any time for us to talk. Towards the last few weeks of the program, we became close and have since kept in touch. Honestly, I never would have thought that I would have a caucasian friend.  
But, not all my years in Bloomsburg have the same happy ending. It was shortly after I  began the semester as a freshman that I experienced my first account of racism. My girls and I were walking back on campus after going to party, when a car with two Caucasian women yelled out the “N” word.  Knowing how me and my girls are and having Haitian blood in us, we in return yelled back while they were driving off. No lie, I was scared after that because I was afraid that I could become another victim being in a predominately white town. Growing up I recall the stories my mother brought home after working on the outskirts of Pennsylvania. The racist remarks, the unapproving glares and over what, pigmentation. My mother’s reality was surreal, it wasn’t until I too experienced this form of hate that something in me broke.My vision felt clouded, my body was hot. How was it that in the 21st century where laws have been set in place that this is still an issue amongst our society. Yes I was ANGRY and you’re damn right I was ready to fight. But a physical altercation was well beyond the means it would take to alter such an issue. What if I was alone, what if they were a group of men instead of women that pulled up that night.. That sense of uncertainty was the very fuel that has gassed me to where I am today.
I did not want for another person to have to go through what I did. So, it was time to start local, by raising  awareness amongst our campus and student body, I decided to join clubs and organization to talk about what happens on a daily, for and to black people.  I joined many organizations like the Black Cultural Society, Vice Versa, C.U.F.F.E.D., and many more. Joining these organizations made me happy and brought me a certain comfort in knowing that I wasn’t going to be in this place for four years alone.I had people I could grow with while continuing my studies. To join the clubs and organizations at my University was easy. All I had to do was go to meetings and ask to join the board or be a part of the club.  Overall, this experience taught me to always raise my head high and that anything is possible. I am much wiser and understanding. I realize that people aren’t as cultured as I am, so I must always stay aware with what goes on in my surroundings because the real world can become dangerous relatively quick.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Thoughts from the Last Semester Senior

Major: Communication Studies

Four years and eighty thousand dollars later.
Will I have a job waiting for me upon graduation?
This thought creeps into my mental often these days.
I’ve begun projecting my self-doubts onto my self-worth
I’m frightened that I will be forced to conform until my hair lays like theirs,
While my wardrobe becomes confined to a vessel No longer my own.
Will I spend the rest of my life working?
I read an article that outlined the unrealistic commitments
We allot to our professions at the expense of our existence.
I’m puzzled by the mass of uninterested occupiers of earth.
Who will save the trees, while I advocate for education reform?
Who will be the April Ryans’ or Ayanna Howard’s of our generation,
When they ask for proof of our worth?
I saw a man recently, where a point of conversation arose about my inability
To hold a job paying 75,000 as a recent college graduate.
I dream of times where I don’t question
Whether the opposing shades of our skin or the variations in our
Biological makeup elicited his response.
I pray for days
In which google image search returns
No longer require “FOR BLACK GIRLS” at the end
In order to acquire my desired results.
I think it will be okay if I don’t have a job waiting for me.
My worth expands beyond my class,
Leaving me grounded in my roots
So that my interests outsource issues separate from my own.
I’ve vetted my investments.
And I’ll be fine.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

What I Know Now

Keys Nicole
Major: College Dropout

Can I say I’m not ready,
Ready to become an adult
Or at least a student?

Responsible for showing up to class
Taking notes and participating
Do the things that’ll help you elevate
To pass and move closer to getting  
That piece of paper

Oh, that piece of paper, I just threw in the trash?
Because I didn’t like how I wrote that sentence
Up late in my dorm room
Trying to finish this paper

Oh, this paper some guy just tried
To pass to me, while at this party
With my roommates, I definitely shouldn’t have came here.
I have to get up early
And I don’t even like parties

How come I didn’t just say no
Like I didn’t say no to my mom
I didn’t say no when she ask me
If I knew what college I wanted to go to.
No I didn’t know
I just knew I wanted to get away to explore
Something new, experience freedom

Freedom to decide to leave or
To tough it out and stay
Why not just stay, get focused
And make my family proud

Dear my melanin sisters..

Be proud in your decision, the decision
To choose the alternative
My happy, that’s my alternative
I can still succeed  by putting
My all into what moves me
What lights that spark within

What do I say to you reading this?
Follow your voice, your passion
Develop a plan and act on it

And find yourself