Celebrating Heritage at Home

One of the most amazing things for me about connecting with my Armenian heritage has been the way that it allows me to appreciate the heritages of others. It's so much easier to see the beauty and meaning in a symbol, a song, or an item of clothing when you can access the emotions that your own cultural symbols stir up in you. So last weekend we partnered with the ChiTeen Lit Fest to do a workshop on heritage with teens from around Chicago. Exploring the different things that heritage means to us, we asked them to write or draw about what heritage inspires in them, specifically a person or object that is important to their heritage.

Walking Up A Queen

by Hadassah
Hadassah and Nehemiah

Hadassah and Nehemiah

Untitled Drawing

by Nehemiah


by Pedro de Luna

"You feel a sensation in your bones,

A feeling of getting attacked with stones,

Your eyes are closed you can't see a thing,

Even when you open them, it's like a Sunday evening,

You can't talk either, your words are all mumbled,

Even the words you say are filled with stumbles,

It's as if your mouth was sealed, closed down shut,

You can't move your limbs, they feel restricted,

You try not to think the worst, but your mind feels contradicted,

You feel all this for a good three hours or so,

Until you're dropped on the floor and feel the pain you had a while ago,

You open your eyes again to see a bright light,

You feel that you're at home with all your leisure delights,

Until you come to a creepy and horrific realization,

You have been kidnapped and so begins your never ending traumatization."


by Kara Kowalski

I kept your watches in the jewelry box in my closet.

I imagine you wore the small silver one on your wedding day. Walking down the aisle heading toward the man who drove down to your girl scouts camp, the man who you let the ladies dance with even though the only one he wanted to dance with was you. That night he got to swing you around the dance floor while the flower girls all stood in awe watching your lace dress swing and twirl. That dress so full of lift and love now stays packed away in your closet between rose scented tissue paper. 

What Are You?

by Olivia Harris

They ask


They don't mean to hurt

But the words
Are sharp

Like shards from my broken window

When I tried to sneak out

On a Saturday Night

To walk away

From the white faces

That ask


What are you?


I could answer

with a snarky smile 

and say


A girl


And laugh

Like it didn't matter


But then the smile fades

And they tell me

Go back to where you belong



by Christian Fuentes

My grandfather left Guatemala with my father for economic certainty. When they entered the country they were met with open arms by the Church in Chicago where my grandfather was given a job, worked, and finally given Citizenship, bought a house, and lives the American Dream. 

Untitled Drawing

by Tarann Sanders
Drawing of a house by Tarann Sanders

Drawing of a house by Tarann Sanders

Untitled Drawing

by Adam
Chelsea working on writing

Chelsea working on writing