Engaging music-videos and storytelling pieces from a roster of conscious and spiritual artists who are committed to the upliftment of humanity and envisioning a better world, grounded in practical solutions and life-affirming values.
VOICES OF WISDOM
Dynamic documentary sequences featuring Wisdomkeepers, healers and spiritual teachers from different parts of the world, with a focus on indigenous elders from Turtle-Island (First-Nation North America) and Africa.
As we face the current challenge of diminishing in-person community and healthy social connection, we recognize that youth growing up today are especially vulnerable to toxic virtual landscapes. Educators may find it difficult to engage youth and maintain interest and attention through virtual classrooms, in a social-media environment of high-speed information and screen-time overload.
We live in the age of information, where wisdom is the hardest to find.
It isn’t a lack of information, it is overwhelm to the point where we have no understanding of what is important. We are aiming to restore a connection between the youth and wisdom of the elders, by first meeting them where they are and offering guidance for ways of restoring connection within oneself, one’s environment and one’s community.
Voices of the Wisdom & Modern Mythology will first meeting the youth where they are, offering impactful engaging audio / visual / storytelling pieces that can spark interest for a new learning experience. For example, a high-quality music video production featuring a Hip-Hop artist delivering in dynamic form can be a way of introducing a particular topic / idea to be further explored. This modern mythology / storytelling piece (music video) can be followed by a corresponding sequence of elder wisdom (5-10 minutes) that provides an expanded and holistic view on the topic.
We intend to cover a range of themes such as environmental education, human-rights awareness, social responsibility and the life-affirming values of healthy community.
We intend for these introduction videos to spark interest for a community talking circle with space held by facilitators / mentors with questions and prompts that engage personal reflection and be applicable to student's lives.
This is a learning environment where students are supported to explore their own innate intelligence rather than try to fill them with 'what they need to know,' while creating a culture of equality and trust among the group.
From there, we can move into grounding exercises, workshops in various forms of creativity and self-expression and a community showcase, depending on the number of sessions (see our 6-Step Engaged Learning Approach below)
The program is adaptable to be delivered in a simplified or expanded form, carried out in a 3-day series of sessions or 4-weeks or more.
6-STEP ENGAGED LEARNING APPROACH
Creating a spark of interest through a dynamic music-video, documentary segment or audio / video storytelling piece, as an engaging way to begin exploration of a particular theme.
Presenting professional-quality music video productions featuring a local Hip-Hop artist delivered in dynamic form (skillful lyricism, performance and visual storytelling), to introduce a particular topic / idea.
Expanding on the theme with indigenous elder wisdom teachings, providing an integrated view of the subject.
A range of cohesive, life-affirming themes will be covered, both from a collective perspective, such as environmental education, healthy community values and social responsibility, and the personal, such as sustaining mental health, self-worth and restoring connection within oneself, one’s environment and one’s community.
Creating & setting the (Sacred) space with the talking circle, which represents a small-scale community, establishing a culture of respect & equality where everyone is free to share.
Utilizing Wisdomkeeper question prompts
Activating an exploration of one’s authentic thoughts, feelings and inner-truth
Facilitating nature-based connection and learning experiences (if environment allows, or can be lead virtually)
Leading students through a guided breathing practice and visualization, with drumming or background soundscape music
Offering ways to connect with one's inner-landscape, such as meditation and breathing practices, to access helpful and empowering tools that anyone can use on a daily-basis
Exploring creativity as a catalyst for positive self-expression and healing.
Encouraging the development of self-directed goal-setting, discipline and professional skill development that will be applicable to a career path while learning from professional mentors.
Areas of focus: poetry, Hip-Hop lyricism, songwriting, spoken-word performance, music-video and documentary video production.
Providing opportunities for students to perform or showcase their work
Students will receive the positive feedback from the community which is an acknowledgement of their work and their voice.
Helping to affirm self-worth and self-belief, encouraging a commitment to ongoing skill-development, as they consider a career path and place in the world, ideally with a newfound sense of belonging, with purpose, as a valuable part of the community.
6 AREAS OF NEED & SOLUTIONS ADDRESSED
1. Limited opportunities for connection to elder guidance and cultural teachings for youth in our community, born into an increasingly digitally-imbalanced-culture.
Solution: Offering a bridge to elder
teachings in a way that connects with the youth, from where they are, and is especially relevant to the youth in our community and demographic.
2. Youth being immersed in a toxic virtual landscape that promotes fantasy, escapism and themes that are degrading to the well-being of youth in our community.
Solution: Introducing youth to independent musicians / Hip-hop artists that share conscious messages and model a way of being that is alternative to the mainstream narrative.
3. Limited opportunities for meaningful preparation for creative career opportunities in the workplace, especially with the increase of businesses transitioning to operate from digital platforms.
Solution: Development of technical abilities in music production, video production and other creative skills in the digital medium, supported by individual mentorship from local, creative professionals. Businesses operating from digital platforms will also be in an increasing need of the specific skills that students will be learning, such as creation of promotional material, documentation and video editing.
4. Increasing anxiety and mental health issues stemming from prolonged media screen-time, with a rapid-pace of information, and increasing the likelihood of stimulus-addiction, which is rooted in a deeper trauma-response.
Solution: Offering tools and healthy alternatives to self-medication, supporting the restoration of connection within one’s body, one’s place in the environment and promoting overall holistic awareness. This can be facilitated virtually, such as guided breathing and meditation practice and guided nature-connection experiences, shift into a more relaxed, receptive, relation-based frequency.
5. Limited opportunities for healthy in-person and virtual community connection.
Solution: Talking circles and open sharing sessions, providing supportive experiences based in a culture of equality and respect. This is an opportunity for sharing and receiving healthy recognition, in a healthy community setting, that nourishes inner-worth.
6. Youth growing up in the ‘age of information’ where all the answers can be ‘googled’ causes an underdevelopment in right-brain activity of creativity and intuition.
Solution: Facilitating an exploratory process of inner-reflection to develop an access-point to one’s personal truth with discernment from the external influences imposed by society. This supports the foundation of inner-authority, self-empowerment and an expression of one’s unique gifts.
DOCUMENTARY / MUSIC VIDEO EXAMPLES OF 7VISION
Below is the first 15 minutes of the 7G Wisdomkeeper documentary that will be utilized for this program. It is followed by a video reel and more work of local-Portland video-production studio 7VISION, directed by Quincy Davis, who will be producing the music videos and documentary segments for this program.
WHAT IS OUR MODERN MYTHOLOGY?
Young people all over the world are recognizing that a new story is needed and they are seeking that but unfortunately there is almost nowhere to go to express this. Without the support of a community, as a result, a lot of the times these expressions turn into frustration, rage, depression and other forms of grief. This energy could be seen as “rebellious” at an age when they would normally be going through an initiation, if an intact and healthy village was in place.
Corporate-owned media narratives are not the only reality, but many people have gotten lost in this illusion, especially with the increased use of modern-technology and screen-time. Historically, within cultures all over the world, community was informed through the visions and dreams that people would have. This would not just be one special person but the dreams that are moving through the village, with each person contributing to the evolving vision of the community. Also, ceremonies such as the vision quest, where people would go up on the mountain to seek an understanding and clarity of their purpose, would provide a way of receiving such information. They would come down with gifts for the village and the collective story would change. Although at this time we may not have the capacity to take youth out to vision quest, at least we can hold space for a virtual talking circle where everyone’s voice is heard, honored and respected.
We believe the collective healing of society's grief is manifested through individual healing, supported by community. Our dream is for the younger generation to experience this, to express their unique voice, awaken to their gifts and be a part of creating solutions, grounded in community-values and traditional life-ways.
Many of the youth we work with are Black, Indigenous, Latinx, non-gender conforming, incarcerated and from rural communities around Portland. We seek to serve those students who are less likely to thrive in more standardized, often racist educational settings, as well as youth who have experienced homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, mental health disability, learning differences, trauma, foster care/shelters and juvenile detention.
Hip-Hop is an art-form that originates from the creativity of disenfranchised inner-city youth of New York City in the 1970’s so it is a genre of music that connects with many youth in our community. Our team of Hip-hop artists and educators involved in the project come from diverse ethnic backgrounds and many of whom have experienced low socio-economic status, former incarceration and/or homelessness. These artists and workshop leaders have years of experience visiting lockdown facilities and high-schools, sharing their personal stories and their craft. They are able to relate with the youth because they have had similar experiences of struggling with delinquency, addiction and violence but were able to make it out of the dark times and change their lives around. We intend for the youth involved in this program to attain a newfound sense of self-empowerment and building self-worth as well as provide tools to transform negative energy of hardship or traumatic into positive forms of creative expression.
Arts-integrated, culturally responsive, and trauma-informed project providing audiovisual and holistic music programming for justice-involved, incarcerated, marginalized, and houseless youth in Oregon ages 14-25. KBB is based in Portland, Oregon, and started programming in 2016 at the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility, and is part of the Multicultural Educational Group Support Sessions curriculum.
The Northwest Alliance for Alternative Media and Education is a non-profit dedicated to creating alternative media content, connecting local media makers and capacity-building amongst community groups dedicated to social justice. The organization’s mission is to amplify the work of alternative radio, print, film, and strategic media makers in the Pacific Northwest.
The Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations is a team of staff for Oregon Youth Authority working around the state with community partners to provide multicultural services.
501(c)(3) educational organization dedicated to strengthening our connection with the natural world. Formed in 1991, ESC's mission is, "To encourage and support people in developing a healthy, sustainable relationship to the Earth."
Cypher CURE (Creative Unity of Related Energy) is a Portland-based group of artists and educators who utilize the “cypher” (circle) tradition of hip-hop culture, as a catalyst for empowerment, self-expression, healing and building community. “We exist to awaken genius in rhythm with Mother Earth and Hiphop.”
Mission: Ascending the potential in our youth, one flow at a time. “Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”