Dear World: We Are The Present

January 22, 2014

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.”

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8 Comments

  • Reply Lori January 23, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Thank you for sharing your courageous and inspiring work! There is such freedom through the authentic expression of self. By standing in your power and sharing your work with the world, you are truly effecting change. Thank you! 🙂

  • Reply Gayle Canada January 23, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    You are all amazing!! I love that you are given the opportunity to express yourself and that you have done it in such a beautiful way!!

  • Reply susan a January 24, 2014 at 10:20 am

    you all had something really great to say

  • Reply Sue January 24, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I am in awe of your honesty and courage. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Terri Seibert Holmgren January 25, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I love every one of these pictures. Bold, bright kids!

  • Reply Kevin Biggs January 27, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Beautiful work. I am often reminded, as I am by this display of courage and strength, that even adults can learn something from our youth. Well done and thank you for saying what needed to be said.

  • Reply Aireona January 28, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Beautiful you inspiration!

  • Reply Celia February 2, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Stay strong; I am so glad you are finding your voices!

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