#WeAreSeeds

They Tried to Bury Us. They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds.”
— Mexican Proverb

Wrapped up my workshop series called "We Are Seeds" in January and am excited to share the videos with you created by local youth journalists! Instead of focusing on the anxiety that issues like housing displacement can create, what would it look like to tap into our strengths and resiliency; to know that we are the seeds flourishing in the yards and cracks in that concrete despite being told we would not survive on United States' soil; to focus on the roots that bind us instead of these gated fences that make us feel apart? And what do intergenerational spaces look/feel like?

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- I really appreciate that the place was kid-friendly and you guys didn’t mind Alea running all over the place. Even though she’s too little to “get” everything, I feel like she still “got” a lot out of it, and I want her to grow up in this environment surrounded by loving artists and teachers of color! I had a really beautiful moment in the workshop when you had us repeat “They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know that we were seeds”, because I was holding Alea and rocking her back and forth and saying the words to her, and I felt so deeply the connection between all my ancestor mothers saying the same thing to their daughters. It was really incredible. And then on the way back to our car, Alea shouted out, “I liked going to the Philippines, Mommy!!!” (which is hilarious, because I’ve never taken her there, and it’s so cool that she associates that workshop and the space with one of her homelands)
— Amanda Andrei, Mama & Workshop Participant

Enjoy <3

"We Are Seeds" is a series of workshops using plants, poetry, and movement to tell stories of how immigrants, refugees, and residents of Long Beach find ways to create home. This project is a part of Cultural Convening, which uses the arts and culture to broaden conversation around gentrification, displacement, and health equity issues throughout Southern California with funding from California Endowment.
Long Beach artists and herbalist Blanca Diaz and June Kaewsith provided the community with a healing workshop called "We Are Seeds." The workshop consisted on reconnecting with ancestors and heritage through plants as well as body movements such as dances and stretches.

Opening poem "Sambo" by Jumakae , which addresses how the rising costs of housing is displacing Cambodian Americans in Long Beach, CA. Video produced by Daniel Luu (March 2018)
Uploaded by CNK Productions on 2018-02-24.

Special thanks to Housing Long Beach, Long Beach Residents Empowered, Flora Y Tierra, Mama Maiz, Long Beach Time Exchange, Filipino Migrant Center, Moving Forward Network, Khmer Arts Academy, and other participating orgs and individuals that trusted me enough to play.

Also, thank you to Brian Philip Cruz, Daniel Luu, "M" Smith, Xochitl Abarca, and Elizabeth Campos Fitch for capturing these magic moments and for all the work you do to advocate for justice through your gift of storytelling. It takes a village to make all of this happen.

We are ALL seeds
Trapped in our shells
Eagerly waiting to sprout
And soon, our mother will quake
To shake us into existence.
The clouds will rumble with our anger upon truth
Rain will drop tears to cleanse this pain
To remind us this was always ours,
and now is the time to Reclaim.
— Jumakae
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