A note from Yasamin Safarzadeh, Program Director at Kimball Jenkins:
I want to take a moment to share my continued support and excitement for this youth writing Inkubator facilitated by the efforts of Manchester InkLink. This partnership is lifting up the voices of our community’s youth and young adult population no matter what their background. These educational opportunities are integral in hearing the voices which are so important and so often overlooked in the state. Please continue to tune in and look for us on socials for more articles! LinkedIn here. Instagram here.
CONCORD, NH – We started at Kimball Jenkins‘s painting about diversity and equality of people. Our reception for the unveiling was on August 18 from 6-7:30 p.m. Everyone came! We had dancing and music and food.
More from two of the students below, in their own words.
How did I get to Kimball Jenkins? – by Clemence Masambeta
My cousin and I met Yasamin Safaradeh at the YWCA in Manchester. First, we thought she was pretty weird. The more we came to events with Yaz, the more I thought she is nice and we can hang out with each other. I checked her out on Instagram and saw that she does art and I like art. I started practicing and practicing until she said, one day, to meet her at Pulaski Park with my brothers, sisters and cousins where we got to paint and she featured us at the Juneteenth show in HopKnot for the month of June.
My painting was an eye, but my painting didn’t sell. The painting of my brother sold because it was messy. I never painted messy, but I started to think it was smart to be more free in my drawings. One day I got a DM from Yaz that she was impressed with my painting skills and that there is a job at Kimball Jenkins which pays. She said the work was about diversity and equality. I was interested with my cousin Judith and so we filled out the application and I met some new friends and we worked together and we finally finished the painting! Yaz is great. She is the reason I got the job and the reason I put myself into painting.
What are our thoughts about the program and why do we care? – Judith Nsimire
As a group, we do really care about where people come from or who they are. Everything from your past is important to who you are in this time now. We care about art. This is why we painted a mural about diversity, cultures, accents and tribes.
I am here because I love to translate different languages from people and I’m good at social media and Google suite. I love communicating with people and I am very charismatic. It is a great joy for me to use all my skills in this program my cousin and I are attending.
English is not my first language, that is why I’m a quiet person. When somebody asks me a question I get nervous and afraid because I know the answer but I can’t say it because I think people will make fun of my broken African-English. These fears make it hard for me to make new friends. I am working with MyTurn now in my school in Central and they are helping me become better with English. I like the app they have for their phone. It is very cool.
Due to these fears, I love being with my people because I know I am safe. I like hanging out with my family and friends once I stepped into Kimball Jenkins. I was nervous and when they asked me questions I couldn’t answer because I was shy and I know people make fun of me because of my English, but I tried my best and learned all of the alphabet. I also take summer school and my English was starting to get better and better. I started reading more books and learning about science and when I moved to sixth grade, I was getting all As in science and math but social studies and language are hard for me so I got Ds and Fs but I kept on trying my best until I went to seventh grade. I believe in myself. I am just nervous.
I kept on persevering and trying my best and slowly my grades improved. But there are many barriers that keep hurting my education. There is only one Swahili-speaking teacher in my school, it is very difficult for us. Even though I am nervous, because of this internship with KJ (Kimball Jenkins) and with Unchartered Art with Amber Nicole Cannan who helped with the internship, I feel ready and excited to make new friends. I know in the future I will be like them.
I am very happy these days. When my dad came to this country he was speaking little English. In the Congo there was a war when I was 5 years old and my little brother was 2. My mom put him on her back and tied a blanket really tight around her. I sat inside of a big yellow bucket. My mom crossed a river – she knew how because my Auntie had done it before. The water carried us to my Auntie’s house. My dad was still in the Congo to work. He stayed there until the end of the war. We waited four years, until 2017 when there was less war to show our papers to get to America.
We were happy when they told us we were gonna go to a safe state. When we got to America, people came to pick us up from the airport and took us to a market to get us food. They cooked for us and slowly we started to heal. We are getting a lot of food from Amber Nicole and her friends because we had to leave our apartment for asbestos and go to a hotel. Now we are back. I hope to work and my cousin, too, so we can make money to have our own food.
Below: Photo Gallery of Kimball Jenkins crew seeing the sights and finding inspiration through art.
Publisher’s Note: This is part of a continuing series of stories that amplify the voices of young artists through a program at Kimball Jenkins in Concord. The student artists are mentored by program director and Manchester artist, Yazamin Safarzadeh.
About the Ink Link Inkubator
This Inkubator program is aimed at nurturing and growing New Hampshire’s local journalism ecosystem – support for educators, opportunities for students and creating pathways for future journalists. And beyond that, we want to engage our community in this process because together, we rise. The program is administered by Local Media Foundation, tax ID #36‐4427750, a Section 501(c)(3) charitable trust affiliated with Local Media Association. Make a tax-deductible contribution here.