We have officially launched our inaugural Youth Internship Program and we are beyond impressed with the crop of Crew Members we’ve hired on for 8 weeks this summer. Starting today, we will post a weekly blog update highlighting different interns each week, and sharing their reflections, art and voices through this platform. First up, read on for Sage Braziel’s bio and featured poetry they wrote in response to our weekly journal prompt, this first week focused on community. These journal prompts are a part of our social-emotional learning curriculum, introduced and woven into critical discussions during the week, Crew Members are encouraged to respond to prompts in any way that inspires them; this is a great, creative example. At the end of the featured intern’s post, we’ll post excerpts from other journal responses as well.
sage braziel is currently falling in love with baby blue & dad shoes & all things Pose. They are a Black queer femme from the dirty south who cannot handle the summer heat. They are also an abolitionist who heals & unearths & sheds & loves deeply. Hearing the cardinals sing outside their home keeps them grounded in how much beauty there is in the intangible. If you’re reading this, sage is inviting you to experience parts of their soul; please be gentle with it & hold space for sage’s obsessions with eating pomegranates & squishing their toes in mud. Support a young Black queer artist by subscribing to their blog “sage’s fairytales & lucid dreams” which can be found on clemensandherb.com! Accompany sage on their journey of healing & loving! Feel free to check out their essay “Audre Taught Me How to Dance” which is already posted on their blog!
A Life in Aleppo
I couldn’t hear past the ringing in my ears & blood
Dripped onto the bricks that I once called home.
Daddy said my hearing danced away
To the symphony of bullets conducted outside
Of the void in the rubble that I call a window.
During the night, it takes on the role of movie screen.
Daddy says the big explosions remind him of
Cheesy Hollywood movie cover art
Even though this isn’t a stunt course &
The barrel bombs are killing real people.
For me, the void is also a mirror
Either that or, every dead Aleppian boy is
My doppelgänger, because it seems like every missile
Leaves my portrait scattered in the street.
I want to go collect them, but it’s too dangerous,
Daddy says. Imagine their shadows as silhouettes &
It makes the days a little easier, he says.
When will the days actually get easy? I ask him.
Death hangs in the air like a heavy fog &
It’s getting hard to breathe, I tell him.
He looked at me, with a surprisingly porcelain smile
The same smile that he used at doctor visits
When he told me that the shot wouldn’t hurt a bit.
The same smile that he used when mom
Didn’t come home one day & he told me
She got caught up dancing to the street jazz
And he said, it’ll be over soon.
And in that moment, I knew that he lied.
But we kept walking,
And started pointing out shapes
That we saw in the rubble.
Additional Crew Member Reflections & Excerpts
“On Tuesday we talked about Geese and their behavior. We learned that when geese are flying in their famous “V” formation, there is always one goose in the front. When the head goose gets tired he rolls his wings back to signal to the rest of the birds that he needs to trade off. Another goose then flies up to the front to take his place. Another magnificent pattern geese follow, is when one goose is wounded or shot and falls out of the formation, two other geese stay back with the wounded goose to support him until he is ready to fly again. Amidst the world’s current state of chaos, I have seen an immense sense of community from all over the world. People of every race, religion, or culture coming together to fight for a common effort, human rights. I have seen the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement roll their wings back, in an effort to say that they can no longer do this alone, and need the support from the rest of the world to fight with them. I have see those, that have been wounded in grief and loss, fall out of line. And I have seen their community, whether they were family, friends, or strangers, fall back and help them until they were ready to get back in formation. While it is under unfortunate circumstances we see this, it is empowering to know that you will always have a community behind you and ready to support you.” – Harper Reed
“First off I’m going to cite the definition, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” I feel as though this definition is only the beginning of what community means. To me community means feeling comfortable, seeing eye to eye, having a open space, unity, and being told when you are wrong.” – Jayla Washington
“Us at Green Heart will actively add and provide for the community that we were lucky enough to work in and grow from. Everyday we come in
to work and the community we are growing is the green heart community. I believe that working with green heart will help out not only the community but will change Charleston. At the end of the program I hope to finish the garden [Urban Farm at Enston Home] and add on to something that’s already great.” – Aaron Johnson