The 2016 election of Donald Trump evoked emotional responses across personal and political spectrums.
In the months that followed, New Orleans youth wrote letters in response to the election—to friends, family, their future selves, America, and to Donald Trump himself.
On November 9th, 2016, the day after the presidential election, Big Class staff visited a first grade classroom and asked, "What does a great America look like?" Amongst the responses, we heard "take care of bugs and animals" and "sharing and having fun". These young New Orleanians made us hopeful, made us laugh, and made us think.
From there, Big Class began to realize the magnitude of what New Orleanian youth had to say about the direction of our country, and the necessity to amplify these voices on a larger scale. We held letter-writing workshops in classrooms in schools throughout New Orleans, at the Gentilly branch of the New Orleans Public Library, and collaborated with students in our own programs.
This collection of letters culminated in I Want You To Know Something About Me—Big Class's first publication of 2017, released on January 15th (right in time for Inauguration Day). These letters range from angry to hopeful, and offer powerful insight into how we can move forward as individuals and as a country.
Contributing youth authors shared their work at Writers' Resist New Orleans, an event in collaboration with with PEN America, as part of a international day of readings championing freedom of speech, and the power of expression to change the world.
I am a young African American. I stand for justice. In this life, I stand for equal rights. I stand to be a powerful woman. I want to be treated the same.
Having a new president, I feel like I am denied as a woman. Trump judges us as women. I've been bullied and as a young girl it pushes me, but I am powerful, intelligent, and smart.
I want a better country! I stand in, and I demand justice!
—Mya, Grade 7
You can purchase the book here.