Recently Kimbilio Fellow Khaliah Williams helped lead a Write-In for Youth in Baltimore. She writes about it here in Buzzfeed:
I’m not from Baltimore. The five years I’ve lived here are a long time to me, but they’re a blip in the grand scheme of things. The kind of Baltimore story that has been at the center of national and international news isn’t my story to tell.
But as a high school teacher, I’m worried about what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie would call “the single story” of Baltimore’s teenagers in the media this month — calling for a “purge,” throwing rocks at cops, and destroying property. As Adichie explained in a 2009 TED Talk, any monolithic narrative is liable to create stereotypes, “and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.” Maybe some of Baltimore’s protesters were opportunistic hooligans, as news reports suggest. But stereotypes, Adichie said, “make one story become the only story.” And the ones I know tell a very different story.
I was sitting at my kitchen table last Monday, listening to the sounds of sirens and police helicopters making their way to the nearby Mondawmin Mall, where protesters had gathered in the name of Freddie Gray. What had started out as a peaceful gathering soon turned violent. I wasn’t surprised. It was the unfortunate but natural progression of things, the consequence of the systematic degradation of a people, of their neighborhoods.
Read the rest of her article here:
PICTURED ABOVE: Khaliah (in the background) listening to the young writers. Photo credit: Nancy Nichols Jagelka/Fusion Partnerhips, Inc.