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Student Stories:

Youth Writing for Justice Project

April Issue

March 31, 2014

The stories on this page were produced by high school students writing side by side with college students studying criminology, social work and education as part of the Youth Writing for Justice project. The project was established in 2011 by Herstory Writers Workshop, an organization dedicated to using guided memoir writing to give voice to people whose stories have been silenced and to change attitudes, policies and lives while creating a powerful body of new grassroots, community-based literature.

The workshop partners with Community Action, Learning and Leadership at SUNY College at Old Westbury, and the Sharing and Caring Diploma Program for Pregnant and Parenting Girls of Long Beach Reach and is spreading to other colleges, universities and public school districts.

The high school students who participate in the after-school project are chosen by their teachers and social workers. They represent a wide variety of backgrounds, yet their mission is the same: Learn techniques to tell their stories so the larger community will care. The college students, too, are learning the "dare to care" technique.

You can learn more about the program by reading "Students find their voice in community-based writing project" in the April 2014 edition of NYSUT United. Herstory is also featured in the latest edition of Educator's Voice, NYSUT's journal of best practices in education, available in mid-April.


1. Arooj Janjua, Hempstead High School

3 pages

2. Charlotte Ring, Mineola High School

2 pages

3. Edwin Solis, Hempstead High School

3.5 pages

4. Erika Vasquez, Sharing & Caring Diploma Program for Pregnant & Parenting Girls

2.5 pages

5. Joselyn Gonzalez, Hempstead High School

4 pages

6. Osvaldo Nunez, SUNY Old Westbury

1.5 pages


The Elephant in the Room Project

Youth Stories for Healing and Change


What is the true heartbeat of communities depicted through skewed lenses? Do we really listen to the beautiful voices of brilliant children often muted because of the hue of their skin?  At a recent Freedom Forum in Wyandanch, we were given a mandate to include the children in the conversation.

In the quiet that comes when we listen very deeply, “The Elephant in the Room” is the real issue that exists, that is often ignored and denied.  Without dealing with the Elephant, sub-issues surface and can plague communities. Gun violence is one of the sub-issues.


1. Thoughts at Night - Anonymous

    200 words

2. The Window - Jayla Bryan

    500 words

3. Glasses - Alisson Sorto

    300 words

4. Racial & Equity - Simone Chippy

    300 words

5. The Boy Who Found Out He Was Moving - Jerry Girauld

    600 words

6. Birthdays - Quelida Alexandre

    300 words

7. My That Day - Anonymous

    400 words

8. Coming to the USA - Anonymous

    200 words

9. There's a Hole in My Stomach - Anonymous

    200 words

More stories to come:

10. That Day - Ms. Renee Williamson

11. From Her Heart - Anonymous

12. A Visit During War - Demegly Osier

13. Here - Anonymous

14. He Didn't Want to Kill Me - Anonymous

15. The Violence You Gave Me - John Fields

16. The Hurt We Give - Janiya Bryan

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