Update from Lawrence NGLN

Video just released from our ABL Youth Video Team, done completely by youth. (Let me know if you can’t access it through the link)

Site Name: Lawrence
Date: 10-26/17
Report covering July 1 – Oct 26

BLTN NextGen activities

July 9,10,11
Navajo cohort vists ABL Lawrence Student Writers Workshop
3 ½ hour dinner conversation about culture, identity, social justice
Writing and sharing poetry

July 12-15: NextGen Youth Summit

August 10,30: 4 hour NGLN retreats with cohort and mentors.

July 16 – present: social media communication between cohorts

BLTN Next Gen leadership activities: cohort and other Writing Leaders doing NextGen work. All of these are significant and related to NGLN


June 25: 6 hour Writing Leader training retreat. (all 4). 26 youth trained

June 28: 4 hour Writing Leader training for the Slice. 12 youth trained

July 5,12,19,26: Boys and Girls Club of Salem MA.. Conducted writing workshops (1). 25 youth

July 27, August 2,9,17: Elevated Thought workshops (2). 20 youth

August 1,2,3,8,9,10:. Andover Bread Loaf Library Writing and Arts Camp (all 4, plus 5 WLs). 50 youth

August 30: Elevated Thought Summer Exhibition and Open Mic: (all 4). 70 youth

August 18 Social Justice Open Mic (all 4). 120 youth

August 26: Lawrence Day of Writing: led writing workshops in different parts of the city (all 4 plus 4 WLs) 50 people

August 26: Lawrence Arts Festival (all 4, plus 6 Writing Leaders) hundreds attended

August 26,29: Planning sessions for Baton Rouge Writing Leaders training sessions: (2)


June 25: 6 hour Writing Leader training retreat. (25)

July 5-21: 26 (4 cohort) Writing Leaders for Lawrence Student Writers Workshop. Guided and mentored 80 younger youth through the 3 week writing and arts workshop. (25). 80 students

August 30: Elevated Thought Summer Exhibition and Open Mic:. (20)

July 5- Aug 30: ABL Youth Video Documentary Team (3)

July 10-28: Rising Loaves Writing Leaders (8) 35 youth

July 5-21: Slice Writing Leaders: (12) 39 youth

Aug 2,9,16,23: Girl Time (extension of Slice): (2 WLs) 20 youth

August 26: Lawrence Day of Writing: led writing workshops in different parts of the city (10) 40 people

August 26: Lawrence Arts Festival poetry, murals, film festival, etc. organized and ran parts of the program (10) Hundreds of youth and adults attended

August 31 Elevated Thought’s Open Mic. (10). 70

Sept 8,9,10: Writing Leaders Amaryllis Lopez and Rafa Dobles flew to Baton Rouge to train 50 Writing Leaders and 20 teachers in ABL methodologies (2)

September 12: Family Literacy Night; Writing Leaders spit poetry and gave the crowd prompts for writing (3). 110 attended

Sept 12,19,26,3,10, 17, 24 Writing and Arts program in the Hancock projects (3) 20

Sept 20,27, Oct 4,11,18,25 Theater and Writing program at the Essex projects (3) 20

Sept 18, 25 ABL Writing and Arts Camp at the Library (3) 10

8/24 and 9/21 Liberation Open Mics at El Taller; 130 attended; 4 Writing Leaders offered a writing workshop for 2 hours before the open mic to help youth produce work to share. (4)

Sept – June: South Lawrence East Writing Workshop. 35 Phillips Academy Writing Leaders from Lou Bernieri’s WL class and volunteers write poetry with 2nd graders from a Lawrence public school.. 150 students reached.

Lawrence High School Writing Lab Class (James Mora): Sept-Dec 2017, 6 visits to Grade Four (impacting 125 students) and 4 visits to kindergarten (impacting 90 students), conducting Writing Workshops.  A veteran of the class, Mora has been critical in training 23 classmates to become Writing Leaders.

Lawrence High School Student Leadership (James Mora), 2017-2018: Serving as President of the Senior Class and as one of three paid student members of the Student Seminar Committee, which is developing plans to expand social and emotional support for 1,300 students in Lawrence’s Upper School.

Lowell HS Writer’s Club, October 2017: Two (James, Monica) NGLN Leaders presented a 1-hour writing workshop to 20 Lowell High School students in the first Lowell-Lawrence partnership, in conjunction with BLTN’s Kendra Bauer.

Critical Issues in Education, Fall 2017: Two (James, Monica) NGLN Leaders are helping co-construct a new elective course at Lawrence High School. Through Bread Loaf they have benefited from access to a series of guest speakers, including Jineyda Tapia (Phillips Academy/BLTN), Jennifer Correas (El Salvador/BLTN), Mohsin Tejani  (Pakistan/BLTN), Lane Glenn (President, Northern Essex Community College), Karen Kravchuk (Lawrence BGCL/BLTN), and others; as well as engaged in discussion on readings by numerous theorists, including authors Django Paris, Valerie Kinloch and Alfie Kohn, all friends of BLTN, as well as John Dewey, Paulo Freire, bell hooks, and others.

NCTE: Two (Monica, Amaryllis) NGLN Leaders will present on Youth Leadership at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference in St. Louis, on a panel also including BLTN’s Yulissa Nunez, Richard Gorham, and Beverly Moss.

Sept-June Cohort member Amaryllis Lopez is president of the Alianza LatinX organization at Bridgewater State University.. She has led them in producing several social justice/arts events this fall, including visits from national renown Spoken Word poets and activists, Denice Frohman and Elizabeth Acevedo.. Hundreds of college youth

SEPT-AUGUST Month of September/October: ABL’s partner, the Lawrence Youth Council, 20 youth 15-21, “are charged with representing youth in the city of Lawrence, creating opportunities to give youth a voice, advocating for issues important to youth, and organizing and developing youth related projects, programs, events and activities.”    These are all NGLN youth, 2 are part of the NGLN cohort, 6 more are ABL Writing Leaders.  LYC comes out of the Mayor’s office.  Youth are paid to work 12 hours a month for LYC.  Many of the youth spend much more (unpaid) time working on LYC projects.  Two years ago LYC launched a “What Is Education?” campaign in the city, critiquing the learning and teaching in the schools.  A few highlights of that campaign include two stunning videos from youth about education and numerous powerful arts and social justice events in the city.  For example, last spring they held a big event at the Lawrence Library that 70 people attended.  The event focused on the announcement of the LYC Student Bill of Rights and the unveiling of a mural in the library, created to highlight and celebrate their work on the Bill.  This ongoing youth-driven campaign, now three years old, reached a crescendo this fall when the LYC organized and facilitated a forum for Lawrence School Committee candidates.  90 people attended. (Cohort member,  James Mora, was one of the moderators.)  The two hour discussion was excellent, with the LYC youth keeping the candidates on point when they wandered into political speak.  One striking feature of the evening were the questions the youth asked them.  When asked about what role they thought “critical thinking” played in school curriculum, the candidates muddled through answers, but it was evident that the youth knew more about this topic than the candidates.  The only candidate who truly understood the question and gave a coherent answer was Elissa Salas, one of ours, who is running for school committee thought she’s only 20 and not graduated from college yet.   ABL was one of the organizations who created the LYC and we continue to support them.  I can’t do justice in this bullet report to the power of LYC and how the youth in it have developed as leaders and activists.

Lou Bernieri

2 Responses to “Update from Lawrence NGLN

  • Tom McKenna
    4 years ago

    What a list, Lou. I’m amazed at the volume of work and the critical role of young people in all of it. Beverly ( @bmoss ), Monica ( @Msim ), and Amaryllis ( @amaryllisl ), would you tell us about your plans for the NCTE pres. Any way the rest of the NextGen crew might be able to support you?

    The new video doc deserves its own response. Coming soon!

    Blown away by the Lawrence movement!


  • Ceci Lewis
    4 years ago

    Lou and crew,
    You all are blowing it out of the water – President of the Senior Class; President of the Alianza LatinX Group; critical thinking classes, literacy writing nights, and the list goes on. We need to bottle you all up and sell this action!
    Thank you for keeping the fire burning!

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