Any topic (writer’s choice)

Discussion 1: “I am from…”
If I were to use one word to describe the message behind this class it would be empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. A large amount of our social and political problems stem from a lack of empathy.

As a critical arts-based researcher, professional artist, and art museum curator for nearly 20 years, my experiences have taught me that the arts and humanities serves as a powerful vehicle for illustrating the perspectives and narratives of others. Engaging in dialog surrounding the arts helps us develop a mindset of openness and self-reflection. Creating opportunities for connection and community are the best ways to awaken awareness and the arts help make accessible the critical frameworks we will be discussing valuable and applicable to daily life.

The goal of this first discussion is to share a bit of who we are through creative writing as opposed to a general introduction. By participating in this discussion assignment I hope to encourage sharing and reflection as we build a classroom community!

Part 1: “I am from…”

Review the project goals and examples at the “I  Am From Project: A River of Voices (Links to an external site.),” a national movement that focuses on countering divisions of race, culture, and background through poetry, artwork, videos, music, and dance.
Listen to an interview with “The I Am From” project founder at the National Writing Project: I Am From Project (Links to an external site.) .
Submit your own “I Am From” poem, song, or creative writing (aim for 250 words.)
Consider contributing your written piece to the “I Am From Project”!

NOTE: As an option, consider using the following template to help you with your creative writing: I Am From Poem template.pdf 

Part 2: Discussion & Replies
Due Tuesday April 13, 2021 @ 11:59pm

5x replies, between 75-100 words each.
Choose 5 other student submissions who have not yet received feedback and engage in a discussion using the prompts provided below. If all students have received at least one peer reply already you may choose another student (goal is to have everyone receive replies. Word count for each reply should be 75-100 words minimum.
Reply to peers that respond under your own initial posts. There is no word count here, but it must reflect a “real”conversation in which peer to peer dialog takes place- use your best judgment and be respectful. You will not receive full points for minimal responses that do not reflect a thoughtful dialog.

Reply Prompts
Engage each other in one or more of the following ways:

Ask them a question about their submission (just be sure submitters respond back with an answer!)
Find something relatable to discuss, perhaps you share a commonality with what they posted.
Respond to a phrase or part of the poem you found intriguing.
Be supportive and positive in all of your feedback. This is a reflection piece and not a critique of writing quality or ability!

Tip: Dont feel the need to write a magnum opus poem or a top 100 Billboard Hit song! This is intended to be a bit more creative and engaging way to introduce ourselves. Use the resources and examples provided above to assist in writing your submission. Consider this first assignment a “self-reflection” piece that will help us learn a bit more about each other. The primary goal is simply to start talking and getting to know one another while we all get comfortable with the Discussions format!


I am From…

I am from the gray and rainy skies

I am from the great evergreen state

From the mountains to the deserts and oceans

I am from the chants of crowds as they cheer

I am from the troll under the bridge

From the summer solstice

I am from neighborhood restaurants and delicious cuisine

I am from kicking a ball around the field on the hottest summer day

From travelling around the world to face my foes

I am from the walks and picnics on discovery park

I am from the hikes where you see the sun hit the horizon

I am from a dungeon known as my basement

From decorations of freedom and beer

From representation of my love for my country

I am from late night movies with the family

From blasting my surround sound and 4k tv

From getting dubs on Cod and carrying my teammates

I am from swims across the lake

From golfing at the lake

From the bbqs on the beach and late night talks around the fire

I am from enjoying the brazilian bbqs at my friends house

I am from pushing myself mentally and physically everyday

From competing in everything I do

I am from saving the lives of others

From watching the waters

I am from motivating my peers

I am from life lessons and rising above others

I am from leading my pack

I am from going to church on Sunday morning and picking up donuts after the service

I am from sleeping in on the weekend

From making big breakfasts

I am from the tailgates at college football games

I am from road trips up and down the coast

I am from philosophizing

I am from being loyal to my family and friends till the day I die


I am from a plane mirror

from having a roof on top of my head

from pillows and blankets

I am from a benevolent home

and trustworthy and passionate.

I am from cherry blossom

whose bloom every spring to show off its beauty

I am from paintings and pictures

from Nguyen and Tran

and from calm and introvert

from respect to the elders.

I am from going to the temple every new year, praying for good luck and health

from rice and pho

from caring for all the family members

and from my parents.

I am from a place when looking at a map the shape of it is like a letter “S”

from the beach and sunset

I am from red envelopes and chuc mung nam moi

from the traditional clothing ao dai.

I am from the sounds of the rooster as an alarm

waking up for school

from friends and teachers

I am from a hard-working family

from saving and spend wisely.

I am from doing the dishes every day

and helping out around the house

from clean and organize

I am from a family of four.

I am from a country

where most of my care-free memories take place

memories that will never fade

it will stay forever.

I am from Vietnam

the place where I was born

from kindergarten to fifth grade

I am from moving to Seattle

from a whole new place.

I am from the moments when I was born

to what is waiting ahead for me in the future.

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