On Saturday, May 18, 2019, two Rochester-based women will bringtheir projects to uplift the voices of everyday people will be in Haverhill, MA. Help us bring a Rochester presence to Haverhill to link the celebration of Her Voice Carries and its first mural in the national project featuring Teen Empowerment’s very own Shalinda Bollar. Your contribution will enable Shalinda, her family and colleagues with travel accomodations to participate in the celebration, along with young people from Haverhill and Teen Empowerment in Boston and Rochester to celebrate youth voice and the power of art to carry a message that connects our communities.
Her Voice Carries (HVC) is a public art project featuring women who are lifting up the voices of others. The intention is to create a network of murals across America that weave a collective story laced with individual truths that becomes part of a larger dialogue through audio recordings, social media and a traveling exhibition. Sarah Rutherford, project creator, grew up in New England and has been beautifying and empowering youth through mural arts for several years in Rochester.
The youngest of HVC's featured women so far, Shalinda, 20-years-old, inspires Rochester youth to choose alternatives to resist the lures of street life. As a former Youth Organizer turned Associate Program Coordinator, Shalinda is often reminded by her peers of how she inspires youth with honesty in her words and hope through her support as they develop their own voices. Her involvement in a youth-adult partnership to end the school-to-prison pipeline in Rochester schools earned her the Princeton Prize on Race Relations in 2017.
“We will continue to rise because we are the voices of the caged bird, so let us speak because we deserve to be heard.” -Shalinda Bollar
The Center for Teen Empowerment Inc, with offices in Boston, Somerville, MA and Rochester, NY, employ youth as TE Youth Organizers to create initiatives that engage their peers and public officials and bring youth voice to decision making to create systemic change.