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Oakland Workshop and Open Mic: A Reflection

Resilience was the theme of the workshop and open mic hosted by Youth Versus Apocalypse on the 3rd of March. It was our second event of the series with Chapter 510. We began with the workshop. The lesson I had prepared for the day was about the radical history of self-care and how we can apply it to ourselves and our communities. The lesson was designed to provide a different perspective on self-care - separate from the heavily commodified and consumerist one that is dominant in most spheres. Together we created a toolkit to manage the individual social/emotional wellness of young students and activists along with the overall wellness of our communities.

For the freewriting element of the lesson, our main prompt was “why is wellness or being healthy important?” This was accompanied with ghostlines such as “I matter because…,” “in a burning world I need…,” and “youth deserve…” During the open mic portion, attendees shared their writing, which spanned across a large number of subjects, from experiences with sexual trauma to issues of racial justice. Some of those who performed at the open mic - specifically those who also went to the workshop beforehand - performed the writing that they completed in response to my prompts and ghostlines. These performers’ content also was diverse and truly heartwarming for me to hear. Some responded with how important keeping up with their physical and mental health is to them. Others spoke on how they see their own communities’ resilience, health, and connectedness. Overall this event was a testament to how the voices of young people are able to intimately engage with struggle and resilience.

Written by Mahder Aklilu, Hip Hop & Climate Justice Education Organizer

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