From the introduction to the THIS is WHERE chapbook:
Where did you first lose someone? This is where. Where did you learn to be strong? This is where. Where did you meet the person who changed your life? This is where.
For eight weeks in the spring of 2013, youth participants in WritersCorps’ THIS is WHERE workshop in Bayview Hunters Point explored their own personal histories and memories attached to specific places and neighborhoods, mining their rich experience for the ore of significance.
As urban landscapes across the nation rock with precipitous demographic shifts, telling the stories of traditional residents of the urban core takes on new urgency. The 16 young writers in this book represent at least four nationalities and diverse ethnicities. Many of them are African-Americans, a group that has seen the greatest proportion of out-migration from Bayview Hunters Point and other San Francisco neighborhoods in recent years.
These poems are not just memories, they are maps. They force the reader to replace the tired image of young people of color claiming geographic ownership in the context of turf wars with one that tells the truth about the complex connections between memory and place in all of our lives. These poems tell the history of right now. You are invited to use the locations provided with each poem to take yourself on a real or virtual poetic tour of this history with young San Francisco writers as your guide.
This chapbook would not have been possible without the passion and dedication of the young writers published within, financial support from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and the unflagging administrative support and championship of Miguél Abad and Jesus Romo at College Track SF, Ronnisha Johnson and Mary Rucker at 3rd Street Youth Center & Clinic, and Betty Sells‑Asberry and Hasseem Abdallah at the Bayview Hunters Point YMCA. I would like to express warm thanks to all the guardians, parents, and chosen families for your support of your loved young one’s participation in THIS is WHERE!
Carrie Leilam Love
WritersCorps, San Francisco Arts Commission