Brave New Voices 2014

On Thursday, April 3, 16 youth poets battled it out for their chance to represent Des Moines at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival in Philadelphia this summer. Congratulations to Susan Stacy (Hoover), Elhondra Brazzle (East), Leah Waughtal (North), Russhaun Johnson (North), Julio Delgadillo (North), and Bao Luong (North) for qualifying!

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If you’d like to view performances from the slam, click on the link below! (We promise it’ll be worth it!)

Des Moines Teen Poetry Slam 2014

 

Work of RunDSM at DMPS is Rising to New Heights

We want to thank each and every one of you for supporting us on our journey. 4 years ago, Kristopher and I were hired at Harding Middle School and quickly noticed a need for culturally responsive programming to help improve the literacy of our students. It’s hard to believe that in that moment, RunDSM was born, and we’ve been fortunate enough to add programs each year, empowering young people from across the city to become active, using their voices responsibly.

Thanks to the support and advocacy of a handful of believers, beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, Des Moines Public Schools will officially adopt RunDSM, and, with the help of a team of incredible teachers (Kayla O’Connor, Kortny Williamson, Mindy Euken-Cadenillas, Hannah Harmsen, Tiffany Strim, Alex Caskey, and Melissa Daniels), we will establish RunDSM programming at each high school. To read more about this exciting transition, click here!

Share the Mic at East High!

Four years ago, we hosted our very first Share the Mic event, with the sole purpose of using our voices to give back to the community. Since then, we’ve raised over $6000 for non-profit organizations in Des Moines, something we are so proud of. On February 21, East High School will be hosting their very first Share the Mic, and this time, we decided to give back to one of our own.

2 weeks ago, one of our founding members, Miss Mia, found out her father was finally getting his new heart. She and her beautiful family have endured this incredible challenge with sheer grace, and 100% of the proceeds from February’s show will be presented to them, in honor of Mia, her father, Cindy, and all of the other families who work so hard to build each other up.

Join us on February 21 and officially become one of Freddie’s Fighters!

SharetheMicFeb2014

RunDSM’s First Annual Teen Summit

RunDSM’s First Annual Teen Summit was a huge success. Over 175 young people came together over the course of two days to discuss, challenge each other’s thinking, and create. Bonds between each high school were made and we overcame difficulties with patience and love. 
 
We are forever grateful for our event sponsors, Mr. Paul Rottenberg of Orchestrate Hospitality, Gateway Market & Cafe, Job Corps, and RAYGUN, for allowing us to fulfill the dreams of our Urban Leadership 101 students. Please continue to support these local businesses as they are consistently giving back to our community. 
 
If you’d like to read more about the event, click here!
 
 

Dear World: We Are The Present

Urban Leadership 101 students collaborated with local photography duo INEZ (a.k.a. Joe Crimmings & Jami Graves) to send a message. Here’s what they had to say:

Danaeja "Love the skin I'm in."

Danaeja
“Love the skin I’m in.”

Doneika "My body is a temple, not property."

Doneika
“My body is a temple, not property.”

Davonte "Be what they say you couldn't."

Davonte
“Be what they say you couldn’t.”

Mia "Am I light enough."

Mia
“Am I light enough.”

Alejandra "16 and not pregnant."

Alejandra
“16 and not pregnant.”

Ahlam "I'm a Muslim, not a terrorist."

Ahlam
“I’m a Muslim, not a terrorist.”

Kathryn "If a man can do it, so can I."

Kathryn
“If a boy can do it, so can I.”

Maddie "Hip-hop is my 2nd language."

Maddie
“Hip-hop is my 2nd language.”

Danna "Speak what hasn't been spoken."

Danna
“Speak what hasn’t been spoken.”

Lead "My femininity doesn't come with shackles."

Leah
“My femininity doesn’t come with shackles.”

Callie "Don't tell me to get over it."

Callie
“Don’t tell me to get over it.”

Kylee "My name is not white girl."

Kylee
“My name is not white girl.”

Sebit "I'm not ghetto."

Sebit
“I’m not ghetto.”

Shellvonne "A 4.0 isn't four shades lighter."

Shellvonne
“A 4.0 isn’t four shades lighter.”

Tytiaunna "I'm 210 lbs. and I'm still beautiful."

Tytiaunna
“I’m 210 lbs. and I’m still beautiful.”

Breonna "I refuse to be what you call normal."

Breonna
“I refuse to be what you call normal.”

Susan "Ethnicities do not equal enemies."

Susan
“Ethnicities do not equal enemies.”

Sharon "Bright like the diamonds in Africa."

Sharon
“Bright like the diamonds in Africa.”

Sam "Black, but not ignorant."

Sam
“Black, but not ignorant.”

Mario "I speak 3 languages, ignorance isn't one."

Mario
“I speak 3 languages, ignorance isn’t one.”

Harry "It's okay to be smart."

Harry
“It’s okay to be smart.”

Imelda "I didn't jump the border, I was born here."

Imelda
“I didn’t jump the border, I was born here.”

Torianna "Women gave men the ability to live."

Torianna
“Women gave men the ability to live.”

Brionna "I will not grit my teeth; I will speak."

Brionna
“I will not grit my teeth; I will speak.”

Dezejanee "Being gay is not a phase."

Dezejanee
“Being gay is not a phase.”

Rhaniesha "I'm a teen mom trying to give my son a brighter future."

Rhaniesha
“I’m a teen mom trying to give my son a brighter future.”

Russhaun "Too black for whites, too white for blacks.

Russhaun
“Too black for whites, too white for blacks.”

Ma "Be strong. Be you."

Ma
“Be strong. Be you.”

Julio "You don't need a throne to speak like a king.

Julio
“You don’t need a throne to speak like a king.”

Leslie "I'm not illegal."

Leslie
“I’m not illegal.”

Dazunear "I am not a nigger."

Dazunear
“I am not a nigger.”

Akai "Asian, but not Chinese."

Akai
“Asian, but not Chinese.”

Emily "I'm the present, not the future."

Emily
“I’m the present, not the future.”

Movement 515 March for MLK

January 20, 2014 was beautiful. We started our day opening for Governor Branstad and others at a celebration for Dr. King (they got a standing ovation)! Over 75 young people and adults marched with us from the Capitol steps to Evelyn Davis Park. We held an open mic in the park, followed by an incredible performance at the Forest Ave. Library. The youth of DSM are powerful! Below are a few highlights / photos from our journey. Enjoy!

Des Moines Register Photo Gallery, Forest Ave. Library 

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Capitol Steps

We Are DSM

Students in Urban Leadership 101 at Central Campus teamed up with local photography duo INEZ (a.k.a. Joe Crimmings and Jami Graves) to create their very own “We Are DSM” video, highlighting what our little city means to them. Enjoy!

Top 10 Highlights of 2013

2013 was a transformative year for RunDSM. In the spirit of reflection, we’d love to share highlights from our journey:

  • We hosted our first annual DSM Teen Poetry Slam at Hoyt Sherman Place, with the 6 top-scoring poets qualifying for Brave New Voices
  • Minorities on the Move expanded to 6 middle schools in Des Moines Public Schools, serving 120 students in a 2-week period
  • RunDSM brought in hip-hop artist / slam poet Guante and World Poetry Slam Champion Joaquin Zihuatanejo to workshop with the poets of Movement 515
  • RunDSM added Street Art as a Social Practice alongside Movement 515, facilitated by local artist Jordan Weber of Fluxx Gallery
  • Urban Leadership 101 was created at Central Campus, serving 40 high school students in Des Moines Public Schools
  • The poets of Movement 515 performed at TEDx Youth Des Moines, headlined the Wonder of Words festival, opened for Freedom Writer Manuel Scott, collaborated with Simpson College Poetry Collective, facilitated workshops in Waukee School District, and popped up at other venues all over our little city
  • East High teachers Kayla O’Connor and Kortny Williamson hosted their first ever Movement 515 Spoken Word Poetry event, showcasing the power of collaboration and expansion
  • We became more compassionate, courageous, truthful human beings, deepening our belief in the power of the youth voice and the importance of always leading with love.
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