From the Participants: Water & Fire
Stewardship Council member Kruti Parekh describes an experience on the way home from the gathering with two other participants.
Beyond Boundaries/School of Lost Borders Attend the Youth Passageways Gathering. A reflective offering by Siri Gunnarson, Will Scott, and Gigi Coyle
Offerings by Pınar Ateş Sinopoulos-Lloyd, Sobey Wing & Favio Lovos
Reflections on Process & Experience by Stewardship Council Chair Darcy Ottey
*These are just some of the many voices that were present. We’re looking for more, please send your reflections or experiences HERE
Highlights of Healing & Justice
An offering by Kruti Parekh
Youth Passageways Gathering 2016 in Los Angeles – What an incredible experience! One of the highlights where I continued to serve as a bridge. Four generations in my car, driving out of the retreat center – with Rebecca Ann ChiefEagle, from the Pine Ridge Reservation, Dayvon Williams, Youth Organizer with the Youth Justice Coalition and Khalil Parekh-Richardson, my 8 year old son. I asked Dayvon if he knew what two spirited meant and he said no. I asked Rebecca to explain. She shared that two spirited were the community’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer population and that that is a part of their medicine – they are healers in the community and care for the children of the community. They are accepted and have a specific role in the community. She also explained that if there are people who were not born that way and it is not their actual expression, they have ceremonies to help them heal so that they are able to fully express who they are in the way that is most natural for them.
For me, this description that Rebecca shared resonated so “right” – on a spirit level. Having Rebecca explain it was so powerful for me and I can imagine for Dayvon. Dayvon has been regularly harassed as a black gay man growing up in Los Angeles. Imagine the world received his gift or “medicine” in the way Rebecca described. Imagine all the harm that could have been prevented and all the support that could have been given. Thank you Rebecca for the gift you shared with all of us.
We Bring Our Voices Into One
Beyond Boundaries/School of Lost Borders
Attend the Youth Passageways Gathering
an offering by Siri Gunnarson, Will Scott, and Gigi Coyle
We, “BB/SOLB ” are, some of us, immigrants, settlers, refugees, metis or mutts
We are all visitors here for brief moments in universal time
Some kind of ancient modern pilgrims,
Landing on new shores
Together we are asking, what ceremonies are right for this land,
these people, these times?
Everywhere we see people seeking connection,
community – indigenous experience, knowledge and ways,
longing for belonging
It is these ways of remembering,
knowing we are part of this earth,
ways that have too often been destroyed, forgotten, lost.
Seeking home in family, tribe, culture,
ripped from our roots, we spiral into natural, man-made disasters,
hate crimes, police killings, another school shooting,
uninitiated in the classrooms, in gated-communities, in police uniforms,
suicides on the “res”, in the streets, and in our hearts
races, creeds, elites, and destitute of all ages, at war.
During the Youth Passageways Summit in LA
space was given, it was a time so needed,
for dedicated Youth Guides from all walks of life
to listen to each other,
experience and reveal the journey, the joy, the gift,
the pain, the anger, the fear around and within –
the cost of privilege, marginalization and avoidance.
There was just enough space in between
to keep the heart open,
allow it to be shocked, to help awaken just a little bit more
our individual and collective soul.
We were asked to inquire,
in small self-identified ethnic groupings…
What we know of original ways, of rites of passage
What was lost, what survived.
“Sitting with 12 or so Europeans
I heard longing for connection with nature, ritual, roots…
Naming the grief, the burning of the witches and our ways.
“Sitting with those in between, bridgewalkers,
I recognized the responsibility, opportunity, the bigger story
of community in earth, water, fire, and air
The life we have to live.”
“Hearing other stories of suffering and violence,
‘I hate America’ rang in my heart,
The discomfort in my skin, the insecurity of myself
I could only imagine a day-to-day feeling of being enslaved,
continually separated, profiled, marginalized, identified as threat.”
Sitting on stage, facing our circle,
Diverse faces with lineage from many world corners,
We shared just a bit of our story, just enough
to own the sorrow and grief, the legacy of war,
the source of so many peoples suffering
in our collective history of colonization.
We felt and heard a collective commitment rising,
to know our roots more deeply,
to cultivate, grow and share more awareness around privilege,
to continue and expand the dialogue, open more connection,
deepen partnership with others and the places we live.
Uncried tears, bottled for generations,
springing forward in powerful prose and strong young leaders.
Grateful for the opportunity to listen, to witness,
to feel yet again and as if for the very first time….
the impact of cultural genocide, appropriation and discrimination.
To realize yet again and as if for the first time…
that any movement which fails to address the stories it emerges from,
is destined to repeat them.
To realize yet again, that privilege comes at great cost…
That we are not to blame, but we are responsible…
…and that we are to blame, if we don’t take responsibility.
To realize that sometimes our greatest gift is silence, attention.
To remember that no one wins in a system of oppression,
that our true liberation is collective.
We will find a way,
To continue to own, to name the history and grieve,
to restore the best of the old, discover the new,
As we learn to ask permission, to respect those who came before
As we find the way to connect, as part of nature, land and city
As we work to initiate, respect, support the youth in our communities,
As we offer ceremonial life inherited from our ancestors
reawakened in our hearts and bones.
We are grateful for the opportunity to have come,
To slowly listen into possibilities for healing, for authentic reconciliation.
Fueled by fully showing up at YPW
We will be relentlessly truthful, we will be who we are,
Asking for what we need and offering what we can.
We will move forward by seeing, listening, learning
thru prayer, thru action, thru love
For ourselves, each other, Life,
For future generations.
Thoughts & Reflections
Offerings by Pınar Ateş Sinopoulos-Lloyd, Sobey Wing & Favio Lovos
Seeing | Believing
Reflections on Process & Experience by Darcy Ottey
More than a month has passed now since the Youth Passageways gathering. I’ve found it very difficult to put my experience into words. When folks have asked me about it since, I typically respond, “the gathering changed things for me, and now I need to figure out what that means.”
As someone whose whole life revolves around rites of passage, the process of initiation is known terrain, in some ways even comfortable terrain. And yet, the whole point of initiation is stepping fully into the unknown. It’s a mysterious dance, to feel myself as someone who experiences a sense of recognition, of knowing, most fully in that state of the unknown…..Read More>