Courage and Compassion…what I learned from a group of teens

Wednesday, November 18, 2015.

I stood in the back of the room at LACA (Latin American Contemporary Arts) Projects and was absorbed into the magic that unfolded right before my eyes.

Peering over me were photos that hung from the celling’s beam of rafters. Black and white canvases through the lens of a teen – a camera lens.

Soulful image after soulful image spoke thousands of words without one single string of letters to form a sentence. Twelve non-profits exemplified in an image that evokes the heart and a deeper understanding of the messages hidden in a smile, a hug, and an embrace.

Next, words that formed sentences, that evoked images and ignited the passion behind the words people are living every day. Words have the power to heal, connect and evoke compassion and wake us up to the real truth of humanity and the oneness and connection in all things.

I stood in the back of the room observing photo after photo, teen after teen, with a tissue to wipe the tears streaming down my face. Tears of expansion, pride, awe and amazement. Tears because I had the rare privilege of watching the teen’s progress unfold as they honed the message and performance they delivered on November 18th at “Connecting Charlotte”.

I watched them support one another, believe in one another and embrace each other as their spoken word pieces knocked the socks off of everyone in the room. Each piece and performance given was a grand slam homerun.

I think I was most proud of watching them stand in the arena with the courage to be seen and heard. The courage to speak the truth and challenge our beliefs about things like AIDS, incarcerated women, transgender people, disabilities, and so much more with love and compassion.

They stood in a power never before seen and created magic never before experienced. Yes…teenagers, but not just any teens. These teens are the next generation of innovative leaders, philanthropists, and compassionate human beings. Everyday, ordinary teens that struggle with the same challenges of all teens. Who deal with inordinate amounts of stress and pressure, questioning and self-doubt. fear and worthiness. They stood in a power never before seen and created magic never before experienced. And for each and every one of them, I am eternally grateful for their courage and compassion and the bravery it takes in being willing to be seen and heard. I see you, I hear you and you have forever changed my life. You make me a better person, and for that, I share the deepest gratitude I know.