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Whitney the Workshopper: “I DO” Project Part 2

December 14, 2012

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So I’ve been beyond grateful to be involved in the “I DO” Project through the Agincourt Community Service. Last Saturday, the amazing young women I worked with for 9 weeks  had a showcase of all pieces. As a mentioned before, the “I DO” Initiative is spoken word workshop in Scarborough addressing forced marriages, sexual consent and gender violence through poetry. The other talented workshop facilitator, the spectacular Sheniz Janmohammed also ran spoken word workshops and together our two groups combined to put together a great show!

To say that the show was inspiring would a vast understatement. As a workshop facilitator, I was glowing with pride as the young women refined and polished their works in preparation for performance. We had a nice chunk of time to rehearse and it was in these hours where I was reminded of how crucial and important this work is.

I wanted to extend my gratitude and appreciation from the Forced Marriage performances, your support and input in that short time really gave me comfort and a jar full of confidence, thanks a bunch!!

There are so many memorable moments in the workshop, too many to count. But one exercise that stands out is one we did about our mothers and second mothers. I made a Heritage Tree (of course I have to incorporate trees into the workshop!) where the girls shared something that their mothers taught them or a quality that they share with them. The results were overwhelming.

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Conducting these workshops was such an enriching experience. First off, all these young ladies are so intelligent and talented. And cool! It was a blast spending time with them, discussing poetry, discussion forced marriage and sharing ideas and thoughts as a group within a safe space.

Although we delved into difficult subject matter, we still had (many!) opportunities to have fun and be silly.

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Through out the workshops and final showcase the program was being filmed and the whole experience will be made into a documentary. Screenings are expected in February so stay tuned for details.

For more about the project, be sure to check out the “I DO” Initiative Website and the “I DO” blog, with entries written by youth ambassador Rammya Ilankannan and Project Coordinator Amna Siddiqui.

Over and out!

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