Category Archives: Voices

Nano-Interview with Deb Habib of Seeds of Solidarity

Deb Habib standing in a field of tall grass, holding a bouquet of fresh cut flowersName: Deb Habib
Organization: Seeds of Solidarity
Title: Co-Founder and Director
Artistic Genre: Supporting all that is beautiful
Years in the field: 30ish

What do you do at Seeds of Solidarity?
Our mission is to ‘Awaken the power of youth, schools, and families to Grow Food Everywhere, to transform hunger to health, and create resilient lives and communities.’ I envision and run programs, and support staff to help our mission blossom and remain innovative. SOL (Seeds of Leadership) Garden for youth is our core and longest running program, and engages young people in using their bodies, minds, and hearts to cultivate food and a hopeful future.

What comes easiest to you in this work?
Forming and sustaining community partnerships and relationships—not that this is easy, but it is very gratifying, unites diverse people and organizations, and enables good work to multiply and strengthen our communities.

What does it mean to your community that you do this work?
Our motto is Grow Food Everywhere and in addition to SOL Garden, we help create gardens at local childcare centers, libraries, the county jail, health centers, and for people in recovery, plus have taught 1000s of people techniques to build healthy soil and grow food on lawns, lots, or in containers. We also started the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival with our neighbors, now a dynamic venue that supports local artists, performers and farmers while energizing our low-income rural community.

How do you blow off steam?
Dance around the house, re-center with yoga, or go out into nature for healing.

What do you create in your free time?
Writing, photography, pottery, and love to create meals of the food we grow on our farm to serve my family and whoever is at our table.

Seen any good movies lately?
The Eagle Huntress was beautiful.

What are you reading?
The Third Reconstruction. Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement by Rev. Dr William J. Barber

The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Well, soon there will be an authorized one, albeit more memoir/motivational than biography. My husband Ricky and I are currently writing “Making Love While Farming: A Field Guide to a Life of Passion and Purpose.”

What’s next?
Carry on with resilience and love!

A YOUTH DEDICATION

Marquis Victor, President of Elevated Thought, is a passionate and eloquent advocate for the arts and their central place in our collective struggle for social justice. He shared this poem with youth and their legislators at a recent State House ceremony celebrating the Mass Cultural Council’s Amplify Program, which invests directly in the creative work of young people across the Commonwealth.

A YOUTH DEDICATION

Kings and Queens
Abbreviated sentences
nestled in poetic prose
Rose from obscurity
to fight for your city
The beauty that is shared
can be compared to an opening exhibit
paintings depicting heaven
Holy Gates pushed open
emanating a light
that seeps through celestial boundaries
This light pours from your eyes
like sunlight spilled from a glass
This light is hope
The light of a subversive sequester
cradling progress
until it’s ready to bound forth full speed
tearing through oppression
like tanks carrying culture revitalization
like jets dropping missiles
upon barricades masquerading as a free nation

Kings and Queens

So true
Questioning the questioner
Questioning the system structure
till you puncture a hole
in the bloated belly of the beast
the gold hordes stuffed inside
will hit the streets and countryside
Mama y papa struggle less and less
because your hearts, minds, souls
will conquer the mountain flatten it out
maybe a metaphor
for the redistribution of wealth

Kings and Queens

You make wooden gods crack when you speak
The true God speaks through you
as you gather the voices of the people
The people who are you
You are they
All you needed was to see the way or maybe
just a faint street sign in the distance

Kings and Queens

You are change
You’ve exchanged futility
for brushes that color utopia
That heal the cracks in buildings
That remove that 15 year old girl
from a crack building
That spray paint over vandalism
with the power of Frost and Emerson
if they were imbued with brown hues
Poems of deep introspection
Words of a Revolution
like 24 cities cupped in twelve pairs of hands
Imagination paired
with Young Lord passion
with Black Panther passion
like knowledge was a canvas
and you power washed it in daydreams

Kings and Queens
Through words
Through images
Through truth
please continue to sing the song of Freedom

– Marquis Victor / Elevated Thought

Podcast: Empowering Youth to Fix the World Around Them

Priscilla Kane HellwegOn the Mass Cultural Council’s podcast, Creative Minds Out Loud, we spoke with Priscilla Kane Hellweg, Executive Director of Enchanted Circle Theater.

Enchanted Circle Theater is a community-based arts organization in Holyoke, MA, that works with students, teachers, and social services – in the mental health field, in the foster care world, everywhere and anywhere – using theater arts as a dynamic teaching tool. Hellweg says they’re developing whole human beings, who can think creatively, act creatively, and solve problems creatively.

Listen to the episode.

Read the transcript.

Check out other episodes featuring Creative Youth Development leaders.