The If Not Us Project

12 Nov

All Together Now is a collaboration between Buntport Theater, East High School, Warm Cookies of the Revolution, The Center for Digital Storytelling, and Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Young Authors Collective. Since early September, these groups have been working together with the goal of exploring and creating awareness around current day civil rights issues. The Lighthouse YAC has created a series of digital broadsides meant to promote If Not Us, a play created and produced by East High theater students.

In the words of Lighthouse instructor Jesaka Long:

Articulating any experience that brushes up against civil rights or social injustice can be difficult. Distilling that experience into less than twenty words can feel like an insurmountable task. Yet that’s the very challenge the Lighthouse Writers Youth Authors Collective took on as their part of shining the light on inequality. The broadsides created by the writers represent the efforts of first sharing a story of an event that created confusion or anger or, less frequently, triumph—and then painstakingly paring hundreds of words down to twenty. Or fewer. These young writers bravely shared their experiences in the hopes of creating a conversation. One word at a time.  

Below is one of our broadsides and the story behind it.


Princess Dress

I let him wear the princess dress when I babysit. We pull it over his head, I Velcro the closure, he leans on my shoulder as he steps into a pair of baby heels. I do the same for his sister. And then together they clatter down the hallway in search of entertainment.

They’re twins, three years old. I’ve watched them since they were born. Neither of them like to share. Both of them like to run around in princess dresses. How am I supposed to tell them she can but he can’t when it makes them happy? It’s not necessarily that the boy wants to wear the dress out of his own reasoning; it’s very likely he sees his sister being a princess and wonders why he can’t be one too. Why he’s forced into superhero costumes, given blue cups instead of pink, directed from the Frozen section at the Disney store to the Cars, why he gets an action figure and his sister gets a doll.

His dad doesn’t like his son in a dress. Or in heels or a tiara. I assume it’s because wearing a dress destroys a three year old’s masculinity. Or maybe his father wants to uphold the idea that a boy should never act like a girl. No pink, no crying, no dress. Why is this limitation enforced so early in a person’s life? Why can one gender not associate with the other without repercussions from society? How soon can we start putting a person’s happiness before the expectations?

I take off his dress before his dad comes home. I leave his sister in the play room and carry him away. With resistance we put back on the muscle tee with sports graphics, tug the sparkly heels off his feet. I wait for him to be done howling for the dress, and then we go back to playing.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: