Black Words Matter: My Experience with WBS

By Bryonna Reed
Davidson College, Junior

I am sitting in a crowded Charlotte airport. The signature airport soundtrack surrounds me: cellphones ringing in the distance, the woman next to me laughs while opening a sandwich, and the constant sound of intercom announcements. I have one book bag overflowing with a weekend’s worth of clothes– I am heading home to the city that feeds me. I am heading home to Baltimore.

Baltimore is a city that nourishes me. Since childhood I have made a universe of Baltimore city blocks. From Lennox Street to Belair Road, I find stories woven in my city’s sidewalks. My inner city universe, however, got a lot bigger once I began my journey as a writer. The missing link: Writers in Baltimore Schools.

Too often educators, administrators, and politicians lie to themselves about how capable Baltimore City Public School students are. Is it our fault they undersell us? Is it our fault our schools are underfunded and overcrowded? No. Yet, the narrative continues. Patrice Hutton, and the incredible team behind WBS, challenge the myth. Quite frankly, they demolish the myth. Before going to WBS, I filled notebooks with angsty poems that never left the page. After WBS, I dove into the world of writing, performing, and activism. Writers in Baltimore Schools does not open doors– it takes dynamite to them.

Ultimately, Writers in Baltimore Schools is not a simply a week long writing intensive. It is a game changer. It is a lesson in the power of combining capable students with educators who thrive on empowering them to succeed. Patrice, Will, Shangrila, Dora, and Khaliah are an outstanding group of mentors who charge WBS students to find where they are being underserved and attack it. They demand that we fight back while equipping us with every tool they can.

I am forever grateful for the home I have made alongside Writers in Baltimore Schools.

You can support young writers like Bryonna by giving to the 2018 Studio  online HERE.

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