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Don't you love a good nap?
(Laughter)
Just stealing away that small block of time
to curl up on your couch for that sweet moment of escape.
It's one of my favorite things,
but something I took for granted
before I began experiencing homelessness as a teenager.
The ability to take a nap is only reserved for stability and sureness,
something you can't find
when you're carrying everything you own in your book bag
and carefully counting the amount of time you're allowed to sit in any given place
before being asked to leave.
I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia,
bouncing from house to house
with a loving, close-knit family
as we struggled to find stability
in our finances.
But when my mom temporarily lost herself to mania
and when that mania chose me as its primary scapegoat
through both emotional and physical abuse,
I fled for my safety.
I had come to the conclusion that homelessness was safer for me
than being at home.
I was 16.
During my homelessness, I joined Atlanta's 3,300 homeless youth
in feeling uncared for,
left out and invisible each night.
There wasn't and still is not any place
for a homeless minor to walk off the street
to access a bed.
I realized that most people thought of homelessness
as some kind of lazy, drug-induced squalor and inconvenience,
but that didn't represent my book bag full of clothes and schoolbooks,
or my A+ grade point average.
I would sit on my favorite bench downtown
and watch as the hours passed by
until I could sneak in a few hours of sleep
on couches, in cars,
in buildings or in storage units.
I, like thousands of other homeless youth, disappeared into the shadows of the city
while the whole world kept spinning
as if nothing at all had gone terribly wrong.
The invisibility alone almost completely broke my spirit.
But when I had nothing else, I had the arts,
something that didn't demand
material wealth from me in exchange for refuge.
A few hours of singing, writing poetry
or saving up enough money
to disappear into another world at a play
kept me going and jolting me back to life when I felt at my lowest.
I would go to church services on Wednesday evenings
and, desperate for the relief the arts gave me,
I would go a few hours early,
slip downstairs
and into a part of the world where the only thing that mattered
was whether or not I could hit the right note in the song
I was perfecting that week.
I would sing for hours.
It gave me so much strength to give myself permission
to just block it all out and sing.
Five years later, I started my organization, ChopArt,
which is a multidisciplinary arts organization for homeless minors.
ChopArt uses the arts as a tool for trauma recovery
by taking what we know about building community
and restoring dignity
and applying that to the creative process.
ChopArt is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia,
with additional programs in Hyderabad, India, and Accra, Ghana,
and since our start in 2010,
we've served over 40,000 teens worldwide.
Our teens take refuge
in the transformative elements of the arts,
and they depend on the safe space ChopArt provides for them to do that.
An often invisible population uses the arts to step into their light,
but that journey out of invisibility is not an easy one.
We have a sibling pair, Jeremy and Kelly,
who have been with our program for over three years.
They come to the ChopArt classes every Wednesday evening.
But about a year ago,
Jeremy and Kelly witnessed their mom seize and die right in front of them.
They watched as the paramedics failed to revive her.
They cried as their father
signed over temporary custody to their ChopArt mentor, Erin,
without even allowing them to take an extra pair of clothes on their way out.
This series of events broke my heart,
but Jeremy and Kelly's faith and resolve in ChopArt
is what keeps me grounded in this work.
Kelly calling Erin in her lowest moment,
knowing that Erin would do whatever she could
to make them feel loved and cared for,
is proof to me that by using the arts as the entry point,
we can heal and build our homeless youth population.
And we continue to build.
We build with Devin,
who became homeless with his family
when his mom had to choose between medical bills or the rent.
He discovered his love of painting through ChopArt.
We build with Liz,
who has been on the streets most of her teenage years
but turns to music to return to herself
when her traumas feel too heavy for her young shoulders.
We build for Maria,
who uses poetry to heal
after her grandfather died in the van
she's living in with the rest of her family.
And so to the youth out there experiencing homelessness,
let me tell you,
you have the power to build within you.
You have a voice through the arts
that doesn't judge what you've been through.
So never stop fighting to stand in your light
because even in your darkest times,
we see you.
Thank you.
(Applause)
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【TED】瑪莉卡懷特妮: 藝術如何協助無家可歸的人療癒和發展 (How the arts help homeless youth heal and build | Malika Whitley)

492 分類 收藏
Zenn 發佈於 2018 年 5 月 3 日
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