We are at the end of our road and there are no words to express how much growth and accomplishment has been made these past 7 weeks. This week, we used our time to perform and perfect different pieces we have been working on. As a group we decided on a date to come together and share our work with the other spoken word group. The girls had a chance to select which pieces they felt comfortable sharing. We also worked on a group masterpiece about a girl being forced into marriage. The piece was entitled “Love Will Come.” It approaches the issue from four different perspectives; the victim, her father, her mother and her friend. Although there are four perspectives, each expresses a combination of anger, confusion and helplessness. The father is determined to have his daughter married so that she can have a better life but neglects his daughter’s right to choice. Her mother, who wants the best for her, is torn between standing by her husband and traditions and comforting her daughter. Her friend is confused and concerned about her well-being and the daughter herself is struggling with honoring her family or standing up for her rights. Not many of us could directly relate to the roles we were playing but we did our best to put ourselves in the situation. This allowed us to apply the emotion needed to make the piece effective and personal. I think being able to empathize is a key aspect in understanding an issue and making the effort toward change. The ability to relate gives the drive needed to question what we are being fed through media, society or key members in our lives.
Overall this has been a great experience that has resulted in new ideas and friendships. Many of the members of the group talked about continuing with writing spoken word and attending different art events together. It was difficult to say goodbye because we learned and grew together, discussing sensitive but controversial topics such as forced marriage, honor, consent, body image, expectations and gender roles.
I would really like to thank Sheniz Janmohamed for all that she has taught and the time she has spent with us. I also look forward to attending the screening of the documentary piece and hope there are many more workshops like this to come. — Mariah Carty, Youth Ambassador