Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Getting I N V O L V E D to Get Problems S O L V E D ! !

     Hi my name is Rha'Leijah Roberson, a youth leader at Nollie Jenkins Family Center. I am a 10th grader from Durant Public School. NJFC is a community organization that helps the youth play a major role with their leadership skills, activities, and programs. I was first introduced to Nollie Jenkins Family Center, when I was invited by one of their youth leaders to participate in a LGBTQ focus group. I was skeptical about getting involved in the beginning but once I got a better understanding I felt more comfortable. After my first experience with NJFC, I wanted to become more invested in the work of the organization. I was shy and scared that I wouldn't fit in and be able to learn new things fast or meet new friends. I got over all of that once I got to know the youth and other staff better.

      From my perspective, working here as a youth organizer is a excellent idea for all students. I am learning more here at Nollie's and I think this will help me more with my school work, knowing how to be more open minded, creative, and outspoken. My goal is to be able to get a better understanding and lead some of the programs including the C3 Project (Creative Community Conversation), Prevention of Schoolhouse 2 Jailhouse Program and the LGBTQ Campaign. Nollie Jenkins Family Center will help youth within the community to gain tools & skills particularly around public speaking , writing essays, learning interviewing and editing skills and much more. I have only been here for a short period of time but I am looking forward to moving forward in the work and staying connected with you all. Until then visit our website at www.nolliejenkinsfamilycenter.org to learn more!

Black Landowners Uplifted “Our Superheroes”

     My name is Steven Burns Jr. I am a youth organizer at Nollie Jenkins Family Center. We are currently working on our living history initiative, also known as our Black Land Ownership Project. We have currently interviewed 16 different black landowners and farmers from across Holmes County. This has been learning and engaging process for me and some of their stories have brought tears to your eyes. Just hearing the stories of stolen land, and the pain and suffering endured just to feed and provide for families, made me appreciate the wisdom and strength of elders within my community so much more! Many whites tried to steal land from African Americans by forging signatures, decreasing the value of the land & even making land owners put their land up to pay for debts owed. The tricks were numerous and sadly some of them worked. Having land was the only means of taking care of their families, many of which were very poor, rather it was growing crops, raising livestock or renting; when land was taken it stopped the very means of providing for their families. 

      We are now working to get the videos edited and published. We not only have to publish the videos but get these black landowners stories heard throughout schools and communities. We are not done with this project we still have to capture many more stories. The purpose of this project is to get these stories heard and also teach the value and purpose of having land. Through this process I have learned that land holds so much power and one day I want to own my own land. We see landowners, farmers and elders within the community as living libraries because of all the raw truth, history and experiences that they have to share. This has been a great learning process for me, & who knows maybe one day I can share my own history and experiences.

Creative Community Conversation !

      Hello my name is Ke'Shaela Parker. I'm 16 and a sophomore at Durant Public School. I'm also a youth organizer at Nollie Jenkins Family Center. A few weeks ago I got an opportunity to meet two amazing artists, Angela Davis & Muthi Reed, who will be leading this year’s Creative Community Conversation Project, at the Museum of Art. Every year new artists are brought in to engage in community conversations that uplift the creativity and talents of locals here in Mississippi. In this art series we will focus on uplifting the stories of black farmers and land owners inside of Holmes County. Working with the C3 Project so far has been an interesting experience for me. At first, I thought art was just about drawing and because I don't know how to draw I was very reluctant about working with this project. Angela & Muthi have showed me how art is not just about drawing but is also about the sounds you hear, the way you project your creative thinking and using imagery to be a voice for our work. Working with this project has helped the artist within me to blossom.

      As we move further into this process we will be using recyclables that we have collected to create sculptures which will represent the Black Land Owner SUPER HEROES, that we will be uplifting. The C3 project has helped me to be more creative and come up with expounding ideas! I’ve learned that it is important to let people express themselves in different ways. As a young person being engaged in creative community conversation is amazing, because it is not often that we can express ourselves in school or community. As a result of the C3 Project , you can search our hasthtags #becauseIAmFromHolmesCounty , #FloodingWithTalentBecauseIAmFromHolmesCounty #SouthernBeauties and see the wonderful art we’ve created.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

His Dream Lives On!

     My name is Curshevia Robinson, Youth Organizer at Nollie Jenkins Family Center ( NJFC), and 7th grade student at S.V.Marshall Elementary School. On January 18, 2016 my organization and I attended the Martin Luther King Jr. parade. We attend this event every year. While in preparation we gathered posters and chants. The Martin Luther King Jr. parade was special because people were marching even though it was cold. Over thirty people joined together for this march! The event was located in the city of Picken,Ms. Throughout the march we chanted chants that both uplifted and demonstrated the living dream of Martin Luther King Jr. We marched to chants such as "no justice, no peace, no racist police", "books not bars", and "I can't hear my brothers' saying I can't breathe. After the parade we attended a program about Martin Luther King Jr. that tells how his dream still lives. In conclusion I was proud to be apart of such an inspirational event that honored the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr..

You Are, Who You Are

     My name is Deanna Mitchell,10th grade student at Durant Public High School, and youth organizer at Nollie Jenkins Family Center. I am a part of the L.G.B.T.Q program of work. The name of our focus group is Let's Get Back Together Quick, which brings all the allies and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer young people. Having this safe and affirming space allows lgbtq people to express themselves and their feelings. In every focus group youth have the opportunity to open up and engage in real conversations about, gender identify, safe ways to come out, protecting yourself, creating safe spaces in schools and community. Having our monthly focus groups help our lgbtq youth be open up & trust each other and us more. Participating in the lgbtq work has helped to come out of my shyness and communicate my feelings openly. I am an individual who is emotionally, physically, or sexually attracted to members of the same sex and gender. The most important part of this work that I have learned is the use of pronouns.
      You can’t always know what someone’s pronoun is by looking at them. Asking and correctly using someone’s personal pronoun is one of the most important ways to show your respect for a person’s gender identity. When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected or invalidated. It is a privilege to not have to worry about which pronoun someone is going to use for you based on how they perceive your gender. If you have this privilege, yet fail to respect someone else gender identity, it is not only disrespectful and hurtful, but also oppressive. So, be mindful and always ask what pronoun they/he or she may prefer. Just like you or the nickname you would like being called.

      People who identify as LGBTQ are found in all occupations, professions and in all cultures. They also face discrimination at work and even in the society. Having to put your feet in their shoes for just half a day and see how much others judge them just because of their identify will open your eyes so much, just as mine have been opened. I hoped that you all have enjoyed the important information I've shared with you guys and please use it ,Thank you .

Friday, January 8, 2016

Welcome to Our Blog !

Welcome to our blog! Stay tuned for exciting and informative blogs from our youth organizers. 

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Our youth organizers will share stories around our recent work, upcoming events,, a range Prevention of Schoolhouse 2 Jailhouse issues and topics, Parent Education & Support, Environmental Justice, and so much more! 

We want to use this platform to share our knowledge and current work as well as connect with you! Let us know how we can help you! 

Come back every 2 weeks for more blog posts and info! For more on who we are please visit our website www.nolliekenkinsfamilycenter.org or on facebook  @ Nollie Jenkins Family Center!