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A “Telling Stories Through Visuals”

production of
Center for Folk and Community Art (“CFCA”) ©2018
Alive on South Beach®™ • 305.534.8807 •

Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and
the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

June Dressler & David Polansky

Julie Glasgow, CPA
© 2018 Center for Folk and Community Art

When Center for Folk and Community Art “CFCA”
began this project, the goal was to provide teenagers
with creative tools to handle their feelings when they
are in situations that lack civility.

Using our nationally recognized model program
“Telling Stories Through Visuals” with several groups
attending Miami-Dade County Public High Schools,
participants wrote about their encounters with rude,
anger-provoking or hurtful people. They then
illustrated their narratives in detail and in color.

At the end of the writing and art-making sessions,
CFCA artists led discussions with additional groups of
teenagers. They interpreted the pictures and listened to
the stories. As a result, cursing and profanity usage,
exclusionary tactics, condescending behaviors, texting
and social-media bullying, and other rude and uncivil
actions were addressed in ways to inspire positive
change, respect and dignity.
Shyann, age 15

Normally, when people are rude to me I try not to pay attention to their rudeness. But there
was a situation that I couldn’t overlook.

I needed to print some flyers for an event I was planning. I went to Office Max and stood
at the desk. The woman behind the desk looked up at me and then back at her computer.
I stood in front of the counter for about fifteen minutes waiting for her attention. Then, a
well-dressed man came up to the counter and the woman said, “How may I help you?”
When I heard that I got mad and said, “I was here first.” She heard what I said, yet she
went on with the man’s copies. I didn’t have an outburst. I just asked someone else for the
manager. I was angry that I was treated as if I wasn’t important. When the manager came
over he said he was sorry and that this wasn’t something out of the norm for her. He offered
to print my flyers for free. As I reflect on my actions I realize that if I had acted angry I
wouldn’t have gotten free printing. By being calm when I was being treated rudely I was
Sarika, age 17

I am from Georgia where there are a lot of nice and fantastic people. When I moved to
Miami I felt a totally different vibe. I had people looking at me up and down. I would place
an order at a restaurant and the waiters would be careless. Many times, I would ask myself,
“Why is everyone so rude? Do I belong in this place that is so full of profanity?”

My first day at high school in Miami I was very shy. I had no friends. Everyone was different
and spoke in rude tones. They ignored each other, or they were fighting with each other.
As weeks went by, I began to make friends who I could trust. We had things in common
and were good students. It turned out that moving to a different place was not so bad. It
just takes time to make friends and decide who to hang out with. My choice was people
who care and give me respect.
Mica, age 14

Being rude is not always fun but there are times when certain people make you enjoy it!

There is this one boy who I actually enjoy being rude to in class, at school and outside of
school because of the way his presence makes me feel. He says stuff that is offensive. For
instance, he would say that his Gramma has more hair than I do. Or when he sees me
walking down my block he says he’s going to beat me up. He makes me feel
aggravated and I just want to see him cry like a fat kid who wants cake.

So, when I hurt his feelings I know how it feels to have hurt feelings. At the end of the day
I just want him to respect me.
Amanda, age 15

Just the other day conflict was heavy at my house. My cousin, his brother and a friend of
theirs were drinking. My cousin’s brother and I went outside to talk when their friend came
outside, drunk, and started arguing with me for no reason. Soon enough, my cousin’s
brother jumped in to defend me. Fists began flying, then teeth.

I watched this fight happen and was happy that the person who was arguing with me was
being put in his place and that my cousin’s brother was sticking up for me. The only way
to prevent this from happening again is for everyone to stop drinking. Not going to
Guadalupe, age 14


A girl I know touches me in a wrong way and always gets mad when I tell her to stop.
When she keeps on doing it, I slap her, and she has the nerve to whine to someone else.

Another time a boy I do not know came up behind me and messed my hair. He did this
over and over again. Then another boy slapped me, not hard, but I got so mad I
slapped him back very hard across the face.

I feel sad and mad when these things happen but happy when I get back at the people
who are messing with me.
Marguerite, age 15

That terrifying day will haunt me for the rest of my life. That day I was rudely disrespected.
It started like a normal day, going to school and doing my work. Then in the cafeteria
someone threw a water bottle at me and it hit my face. I looked back and saw a group
of boys laughing. I was so mad that my anger took over and I threw the bottle back at
the boy who hit me. Then I just ignored him and continued to talk to my friend. Suddenly,
the boy came up behind me and slapped me in the face with a piece of pizza.

I was upset and could easily have become a hooligan like him, but my parents taught
me better than that. So instead, I became the bigger person and just ignored him. Doing
that made me feel better.
Kimberly, age 14

I’ve been in several situations with Haitian’s that are not very pleasant. This is when a
Haitian person or a Haitian-American tells me that I’m not Haitian. They judge me by my
skin color and my hair. Also, the way I speak.

Sometimes they have a conversation about me in Creole. I usually don’t say anything, or
I wait to see what they say. Afterwards, in Creole I tell them what they said about me.
They are surprised that I understand and speak Creole and usually apologize for
gossiping about me in front of me. When this happens, I am annoyed.
Wilda Jean, age 15

I know sometimes our minds wander and we forget to be civil. But to not be civil on purpose
… that’s wrong! I think people should treat others the way they want to be treated. I love
talking to my friends on the phone, but there is one friend in particular I’m not so sure about
anymore. When we talk, she says, “Okay. Yeah. That’s nice. Oh, really!!” Although she
responds to what I’m saying, she doesn’t acknowledge it in a way that makes me know
she’s really listening to me. When she calls me, I make sure to get into the conversation.
The way she responds hurts me because I want our friendship to work both ways. I want
my friend to be there for me in the same way I am there for her.

Even though I don’t want to end my friendship with her I am going to tell her how I feel. I’d
rather her know and if it comes to that, end our friendship now then have a friend that isn’t
meeting me half way.
O.P., age 15

One day I stood in line at the Chinese take-out restaurant for thirty minutes. When I finally
reached the counter, the counterman smiled at me and turned to help another guy. The
other people at the store told the guy that he skipped me. The guy just said, “let me get
my food,” in a weird way. I felt very angry, but I didn’t say anything.
Rico, age 15

One day I was arguing with my older brother because of his sarcasm. When I argue with
him things always get physical. That’s because he gets loud and rude and I don’t like to
be yelled and cursed at.

I feel that under any circumstances I should not have to suck up or kiss up to somebody
who is rude to me. I think people should be respectful, especially to other people who
respect them. I disrespect people who are sarcastic to me because I want to be
Brandon, age 14

One day as I was heading to school I took a good look at my shoes and clothes. I said,
“Man, I got swag.” So I walked into Miami Edison Senior High all swagged out and went
to class. I sat down and observed the fine girls in the class. I thought to myself, “Which
one am I ‘ginna holla at’?

I chose the best one and sat next to her. I said, “How you doin’?” But she didn’t say
anything back. I thought, “This girl is rude.” She knows I got swag but she’s playing
Dayou, age 14

Sometimes I’m very rude with people in school and in my house. Sometimes when I try to
be respectful of certain people, they think I am scared of them and they do whatever
they want. They touch me whenever they want. They treat me however they want. Like
a mom cursing at me in front of people. And when they are popular they think they are
“all that” and get away with their behavior.

Rude people just want others to pay attention to them. When people are rude to me I
feel very bad. I feel like I have nobody to go to and tell me what I’m supposed to do.
When people are rude to me in front of other people I hate these people forever and
only God can get these people out of my life and my heart.
Young Chip, age 15

Two years ago, my mom and dad were going out of town so they split up me, my brother
and sisters. They were sent to an aunt, an uncle and a cousin. I was sent to my grandma.
My grandma was happy I was with her because she lives alone in a big house in Miami
Shores. While I was with her, she asked me to walk to the store and buy some milk so she
could make her all-time great banana cream pie.

As I was coming back from the store, a group of Caucasians walked up to me and one
knocked the milk out of my hands. Another one spit on my shoe. Having good fighting
skills, I fought back and they ran off. I felt that I never got back at them, but when I do ….

Then again, I don’t know if I can beat six guys.
Stenly, age 14

Being rude is not a good thing because you never know what’s going on in the mind of
the person you are being rude to. Just like, if someone is rude to me, he or she doesn’t
know what’s going on in my mind or that my feelings are hurt. You don’t know how a
person will react.

Every day a female named M is rude to me. She usually rips my work or writes on my
assignment. She is a bully. I think she thinks I’m soft because I don’t say or do anything to
her when she’s hitting or bullying me. I just sit there and do nothing. It’s bad for me
because that encourages her to bully me at any time. The only reason I don’t hit her is
because she’s a girl, but when she tries to hurt my feelings I get mad to a point that I
want to snap on her.
Pink Juice, age 15

When I was at home, not feeling well, “people” kept bothering me and calling me
names. I got mad at them and walked away rudely.

Later, when I was feeling better, I sat down with them and apologized. I felt good
Shante, age 14

One day while I was writing a story my friend was annoying me and I couldn’t
concentrate. She made me made. I kept telling to leave me alone, but she wouldn’t. I
cursed her out and she stopped and apologized. She was just playing around. I forgave
Jaida, age 15

A girl I knew had a best friend since the first day of school. They’ve been together through
thick and thin and they’ve had their ups and downs but through it all they still love each
other. Then the girl started having problems because her real mom wanted to talk to her
but the girl’s mom never came and the girl got upset and felt anger inside. From that day
the girl has been angry. Her best friend helped her through it but the girl still wanted
revenge. Then the girl’s best friend started to hear horrible things about her around school.
He knew the pain she was going through with her Mom so he tried to bring to her this
information in a nice and calm way. But she didn’t like what she heard being said about
her and got angry and started to cry. He held her tight and said not to worry, that he would
help her with her problems. She said, “You don’t know my life and you don’t understand
how I feel unless you are in my situation.” The horrible things being said got worse and the
girl got even angrier. The girl asked her best friend who was telling him these things. He
said he didn’t want to put anyone out there, but the girl said, “If you’re a true friend, then
you would tell me.” What made it even worse is that he started to believe the horrible
things being said were true. The girl cried her eyes out until she couldn’t cry any more. The
best friends got into an argument that led to them no longer liking one another. He went
so far as posting things about the girl on Facebook.

I asked him why he did that and he said he doesn’t care anymore. He hates the girl. So
now the problem is that the girl called her cousin and her cousin didn’t like what he heard.
The second day at school the teacher asked what was going on with the two of them. The
girl started to tell the story when the teacher called the boy in to settle it. Things got out of
hand and they started name calling and were about to throw their hands when Security
jumped in front of the two friends and took both to the office to talk to the counselor. After
their talk with the counselor the two once best friends decided not to be friends anymore.
Brina, age 15

A friend of mine and David were a couple. They had been going out for two years, on and
off. It was an aggressive relationship because they would get into arguments and fight.
David would hit my friend across the face, choking and slapping her. My friend would tell
me that David hits, chokes, slaps her and I would tell her to leave him. My friend would say
“But I love him,” and I would tell her that if she stays with David then she has no respect for
herself. “You’re a lady, a pretty young lady. You can have anyone you want. There’s plenty
more fish in the sea. He’s not the only man out there. Yet, you still run back to him.”

But she ran back to him. They didn’t fight for weeks. Weeks past by and there was no sign
of them fighting. Then when my friend was texting her brother, David got jealous thinking
she was texting another man. They started arguing. Then David lifted his left hand up and
slapped the living daylights out of her. My friend passed out. David left their house and
went to his parents’ house.

I guess David knocked some sense into my friend because she called the police and filed
a police report and got a restraining order. Ever since that day they haven’t seen each
other. My friend told me that it was because of my words, when I told her about not having
respect for herself, that she regained her self-respect. What she said made me feel great.
Death Count, age 14

It is a terrible feeling when people are rude to me. I feel sad and left out; embarrassed in
a way. I’m rude myself, I must admit, but my rudeness makes me smile. It makes me
happy. I may say that pain was my joy or high when I was a young kid, but only when I
was distributing the pain. When people discuss things without me I fee alone. I want to
know what they are saying, but I resist. I isolate myself because no one gets me. I do
nothing bad for people to talk about. I’m usually disrespectful, but people constantly
laugh at it. That’s why I continuously do it. I’m always in a good mood, so when I’m
wrong it is disturbing. My cousins are rude and they anger me. So basically, rude
behavior fills my blood with anger I must contain because the outcome would be
continuous violence.
Xzavier, age 14

I was at home when my brother asked me to get him some juice. My response to him
was very rude and inappropriate. He felt disrespected and came into my face and
started arguing with me. One thing led to another and we started to hit each other. At
the end he gave me a black eye and I busted his lip. And it didn’t end there. My dad
beat us both with his dangerous belt. So, because of the way I responded to my brother I
got two whippings. Now I know not to talk to my brother like that again.
Soap – SoSo, age 14

One day two friends and I went to Subways and bought a five foot long sub. Once we
sat down to eat, Rick went to buy a soda. While she was gone, Apples took two big bites
out of her piece of sandwich. I told Rick the truth – that it was Apples who took the bite
and not me, but Rick didn’t believe me so I gave her a piece of my sandwich. As Apples
was taking her last bite she told Rick the truth. That meant no soda for Apples. What a
Mia, age 14

Somebody was rude to me when I was in the fifth grade, in Atlanta where I was living at
the time. I was new to the school and as soon as I walked inside the classroom people
started talking bad about me. They didn’t even know me. They called me names just
because I looked older than them. I hoped they would change their mind about me
once they got to know me. This situation made me feel sad.
Yaki, age 14

Just yesterday I got mad at Apples. She was rude because I broke the stick she had in
her hands which in the first place WAS MINE! I found it in the alley trash can. Then I found
a birthday balloon. Ericka and I started to play baseball until she popped the balloon.
We tied it up into a ball and kept on playing. Everyone got involved in our little game.
Finally, I found Apples and we made up. We talked and played more ghetto baseball.
Adeshola, age 13

My nine year old sister was very rude towards me. I asked her to do her chores before our
mom got home and she looked at me, rolled her eyes and said a slick comment and
continued watching TV. She made me extremely mad and it made me say something
very inappropriate back to her. I ended up making her cry, but she also started to do her
chores. I felt bad a little, but I got over it because I remembered what she said to me!
Catalina, age 15

Friends of mine, Billy and Sally had been going out. They then broke up but were still friends.
One day at lunch I introduced them to Jane, another one of my friends.

At school a few weeks later Sally and Jane were very sad. I asked them what was wrong
and they looked at each other and rolled their eyes. I pulled Sally aside and asked her
privately. She said that Jane was now going out with Billy and Sally was mad at me for
introducing them to each other.

When Billy came around he saw them unhappy and asked me what happened. I told him
about the jealousy and he asked me what he should do? Stay with Jane or go back to
Sally? I guess my opinion mattered. But as a result, Sally and Jane were angry at me and
Billy isn’t going out with either of them anymore. I learned to not get in the middle of other
people’s business.
Rick Flames, age 14

What’s really rude is when someone eats your lunch! It was Early Release and we were
very hungry. So, we gathered enough money to go to Subways. When we got there my
friend Apples wanted to buy a tuna sandwich, but it cost more than she had so I gave
her thirty-five cents. For me, that’s a lot of money. She bought the sandwich and we split
it in three, one piece for Apples one for Soap and one for me. Of course, Apples took the
biggest piece. I realized that we can’t eat without a drink so with the money I had left I
went to the counter to buy an orange soda to split. When I got back to my friends I saw
that the piece of sandwich that was mine was half-eaten with two giant bite marks on it.
I’m thinking to myself, “Who could’ve eaten my sandwich? Not these two friends who
were the only ones at my table!” So, I said out loud for everyone to hear, and I quote,
“Which one of you mother-f#%$#*s ate my sandwich?” Both of my friends started
babbling and blaming each other. So, I said, “One of you is going to give me a piece of
your sandwich.” Soap gave me a piece of her sandwich. Clearly, I knew who ate mine –
both of them – but I didn’t care as long as I got to eat. The worst part was when I was
halfway done Apples snatched the last piece out of my mouth and stuffed it in her big
fat face, then she drank half the soda leaving me and Soap with only a sip.

I was pretty mad because I was hungry. But I love my friends so I forgave them. They
were also hungry. Besides, I left a Bahamian quarter as a tip.
Nicolas, age 14

Three week ago I met a girl who was very pretty and respectful. She had a best friend who
became her terrible enemy. They sat side by side in class, shared ideas and secrets. They
lived like sisters. Moreover, they appreciated and respected each other. Later on a Friday,
there was a party we all went to. I saw them start to make trouble and disrespect each
other. The reason why was because one had a beautiful dress and her friend’s dress was
ugly. They started to curse each other. I felt so sad when I saw two best friends become
enemies. These two girls were my friends and the way they treat one another also affects
me and my relationship with them. When I arrived home I was still sad thinking about this
horrible moment. Before I went to sleep I prayed they would become friends again. The
next day they did forgive each other and this day was the best day I ever had. It was
Blue Jay, age 15

Today Krystal, a girl in my homeroom, got on my nerves. I’m sitting in my chair doing
homework when the boy sitting in front of me asked me a question. While I was
answering him, Krystal told me to shut up. I looked at her and went back to talking to the
boy, saying under my breath that Krystal better shut up and leave me alone.

Then I went back to doing my homework and Krystal and the boy began talking about a
movie. I asked if it was a horror movie they were talking about. He said no, and I said that
I only watch movies with killing. Krystal had the audacity to tell me I am trying to be bad.

I know I’m not. I said to her, very slowly, “I like movies with killing because they have a lot
of action. I’m not trying to be bad.” Then I went back to my homework and ignored
everything else she said. She called me stupid. I said to myself that I wasn’t going to get
mad. After school, I’m going to the counselor and tell him that I hate Krystal.
Valencia, age 15

One day after school my friends and I decided to go to Tiny’s house to rehearse dance
steps instead of the after school program which we thought was cancelled. When I got
home my mom said that the school called saying we weren’t in school. My mom was angry
that I lied to her. My best friend’s mom also found out and was furious. They live in the same
building as I do. Her mom started yelling, cursing and pushing my friend. My friend pushed
her mom back really hard. Her mom hit her and kicked her. The next day they called my
friend’s name on the P.A. and asked her to come to the counselor’s office. When I got
there I saw my other friends who had gone to Tiny’s house. Then my best friend told the
counselor that her mom abused her. When I got home, police came to the building. My
best friend told them that I was the one who reported her mom. She stood there in front of
my face and said I was the one who did it. My own best friend lied about me. I felt so

I stopped talking to my ex best friend for a year. I lost faith and trust in her.

I eventually forgave her and now we’re very close. But I can’t trust her the same way I did.
Kendra, age 15

A girl I know and I once got into an argument because she was angry at me for telling my
best friend that she, this girl, had a boyfriend. When I mentioned to my best friend that this
girl had a boyfriend, I thought my best friend already knew. She didn’t and that’s when
this girl got mad and asked me why I told my best friend about her having a boyfriend.
She wanted to be the one to tell her.

I told the girl that I thought she had already told my best friend her news but she said that
she was waiting for the right moment.

That’s when the girl started talking mess about me and telling people she wanted to fight
me. I told her that if she keeps saying slick things about me then I’m going to fight her. She
kept on talking about me and I got mad and started cursing at her. At lunch, she almost
hit me but a Security Guard pulled me back. At the main office we had to apologize to
each other and tell everybody it was a misunderstanding.
Sebea, age 15

It was a shiny great and beautiful day. I just came back from shopping, eating and
chilling. I decided to get dressed up and walk outside to smell the fresh air. Someone
came up to me and threw a stick at me and my best friend. We yelled at the person
“WTF”!!! He replied with a smile and a hot “FU”. My best friend, full of anger, charged at
the 12 year old kid with the same stick he threw at us and started beating on him with it.
Then I joined in. The police were called and we ran until we got to our house. They

Acting this way doesn’t make me a decent person, but hey, that’s life. The kid was
looking for a fight and got just what he wanted. A Fight!
Tommy Holiday, age 14

It was a warm Saturday night. Tommy and I just came from seeing a movie. I said, “Man, I
am thinking of going with your ex-girlfriend Lisa. Tommy said, “Now man, chill. I don’t
even care because you’re too ugly.” I said, “I look better than you, you’re ugly!” Then
Tommy pushed me. I punched him in the face. He started bleeding and crying. I told him
I was sorry. He just left and went home. We never spoke to each other again.
Tenor Maria, age 18

Four years ago my friend Kathia and I went to a 6:00-9:00 p.m. movie at Aventura Mall.
When the movie started a few of the girls sitting near us were talking very loud and
disrespectfully. My friend and I could barely hear the movie over their chatter. I politely
asked them to stop talking so loud and one of the girls started to curse me out. It was
terrible. I felt like crying. She wanted to fight with me and I did not want to fight back.
Finally, I asked her why she wanted to fight with me. She said, “Because you are wearing
a beautiful dress.” I guess she was jealous of me and wanted to embarrass me in front of
my friend.

I did not know this girl before this incident and I knew I didn’t want any friends like her in
my life. I don’t know why someone would want to fight about what I was wearing, a pink
dress and white shoes. It’s weird that I was being insulted and complimented at the same

My friend Kathia cooled me off. She told me I was mature in the situation and should be
proud of myself. Together we came up with a solution to talk to the police.

When the movie was over I spoke to the police and suggested that there be a curfew so
that teenagers would not be admitted into the theater after 8:00 p.m. without an adult.
That way this kind of fighting wouldn’t happen again to anyone else.
Sony, age 16

A boy I know always bullied me and wouldn’t stop when I told him to. He would get
suspended from school, but that didn’t get him to leave me alone. I was afraid of him.
Finally, as I got older and grew bigger I pushed him to the ground. I felt bad that I had to
hurt him, but he never bullied me again.
Cassandra, age 16

I come in with a smile and leave with a frown. I log in to Facebook expecting to go down
my newsfeed with enthusiasm and then log off. But not in this case. I went on and saw my
name. I was really angry and felt my vein popping over my eyes. I never felt so
disrespected in my life by someone I thought was my friend. She used a social network to
diss me.

I was shocked because every week we gather to study about living a civil Christian life but,
yet, I was being judged by someone who I considered to be as close to me as a sister, a
friend I could run to whenever I needed help. I was really angry and wanted revenge. “I
can’t have her disrespect me on a social networking site. How can she smile in my face
and hate me?” I wondered. What made the situation worse was her attitude towards me.
I just had to yell and get my point across that I was angry. I called her a “fat tramp.” I felt
bad afterwards because I was not a person who usually explodes in anger. Later I was
mad at myself for paying all my attention to her.
Liz, age 16

A few months ago some of my friends and family members were outside my uncle’s house
playing a friendly game when a couple of girls I don’t like came to join us. Sarah is one
those girls who can make you crazy just by hearing her voice. I can’t stand being with her
even if my life depended on it. The history of Sarah and I goes back. Two years ago we
were best friends. She was shy, nice, helpful and dependable. One day Sarah told
everyone that I was sleeping around with middle-age men. That messed up our friendship.
Sarah started hanging out with all kinds of boys and girls who probably were sleeping
around. I had a lot of secrets about Sarah that if her family found out about, they would
not want to be with her. They would disown her. But I kept these secrets to myself. But she
created a lie about me. Unfortunately, that day she came to my uncle’s house was not a
good day for her. The first thing that happened is that my cousin got mad when she saw
Sarah and everyone started to fight. There was blood all over the ground. Onlookers called
the police to break up the fighting.

Four months later Sarah and I started to talk. We spoke about the old days. I wanted to
get to the bottom of our problem. Sarah accused me of wanting to be like the other girls.
I told her that people can say anything about me but I expected her, my best friend, to
have my back and not say things that aren’t true because people believe what they hear
if it’s coming from a friend. Even though we had this conversation we still are not friends. I
think talking to Sarah may have even made our relationship worse. I thought people in
general are supposed to change their attitudes when they are wrong, but I guess not
everyone will.
Jakirah, age14

One windy, humid, rainy day about a week ago I was on my way to school when my
phone rang. It was my friend Mimi. “Wassup?” I asked. In a burst of angry sobs she told me
that her boyfriend Shay betrayed her. “I went over to Shay’s house and caught him and
this girl all over each other.”

I was shocked, but kind of saw it coming. “What are you going to do now?” I asked Mimi.
“I love him so much. I don’t want to leave him. If I give him another chance maybe he will
change,” she replied. I rolled my eyes and hung up.

Later on, in the school cafeteria I was with Mimi and Shay. I was angry at Mimi for letting
Tray betray her and then taking him back. But I didn’t say anything. I just wanted to be a
supportive friend.

Three days later I was home getting ready to go to a movie. I hadn’t spoken with Mimi
during this time but I had seen her with Shay. Just as I was heading out I heard a loud
“boom boom boom” at my door. It was Mimi in tears. “What happened?” I gasped.

“It was our four year anniversary and he was with that girl,” she answered, her voice
cracking from crying so much. “You want to know what I think?” I asked her angrily. She
shook her head yes. “He is a cheater and always will be a cheater. You don’t need
anybody disrespecting you. Be a strong independent woman and leave him without a
tear,” I told her.

Mimi left and later that night she came back to my house with a bag of clothes, shoes and
a lighter. She burned his clothes with the words “I’M DONE” written all over her face.
Alyshya, age 16

I have a friend who had been teased since elementary school. She used to tell me how
the kids bothered her every day. She used to run home and cry. I remember her reliving
the bad things the kids in her class said to her as she repeated them in her mind, forgetting
that she was telling this to me. She also told me how she felt that no one cared about her,
especially her father. Her mother worked hard trying to provide for her and her brothers
and sisters. One of her stories touched me. It was about a boy who pulled her hair and
made her fall so hard on the concrete that she busted her lip. He ran away when he saw
she was hurt, but she ran after him and started to fight back. She said she doesn’t
remember who won the fight but from that day on she stood up for herself and doesn’t let
anyone bring her down.

She felt good standing up for herself and demanded that she be treated with respect. She
became more confident in herself, but the fight she had was her first and hopefully her
Kathiana, age 16

Every time Jasmine went to school the kids made fun of her because she didn’t wear the
brand name designer clothes. Whenever I saw this happen it made me angry but I didn’t
do anything to stop the kids from teasing Jasmine until they took it too far. They took her
back pack and dumped all her books, papers and pencils on the floor and then spit in her
face and called her names. This time I stood up and said THAT’S ENOUGH. I asked them
what they were trying to accomplish. “Are you trying to make her kill herself?” I helped
Jasmine pick up her stuff and took her to the restroom to get cleaned up. Even though
she didn’t know me she told me about herself. She said she cuts herself every night and
cries herself to sleep. I told her that these kids aren’t worth it and I would stop them from
bothering her. All these kids needed to get them to stop being bullies, was for someone to
stand up to them. Jasmine is getting better. She’s closer to her mom. It frustrates me to see
people treating others as if they were animals. When I’m angry I curse in my mind, “You
stupid b#!%! Shut the f*#% up!” That makes me feel better.
Team Robin, age 15

When my homeboy Robinson was being bullied by Jeff, a seventeen year old, I would
just stand there and do nothing. The reason I never helped Robinson was because Jeff
was six feet two inches and I am only five feet seven inches. But one day Robinson and I
decided to stop letting Jeff be a bully. Together we jumped Jeff. From then on Jeff has
left us alone.
Kevv, age 14

One day when I was sitting with my friends a boy named Domingo came over and said,
“Aye boy, you is in my seat!”
I said, “No man, you don’t pay my bills.”

He slapped the spit out of my mouth. My face hit the floor with amazement. The next day
I filled ten balloons with chili and milk and I got all my homies to get him good! He never
messed with me again. I feel bad now though. Poor Domingo. Thank goodness he didn’t
press charges!

I never saw Domingo again and in thinking about it, a better way to handle this bully
would have been to tell an adult or authority figure. But when I become enraged, it is
very hard for me to calm myself down. And adding on my family is very high on
defending myself, so personally, at that moment it was the perfect thing to do. Ironically,
I would never do anything like that again.
Nathalia, age 16

I knew a girl who had a friend who betrayed her by going out with another friend and not
including her. This girl was really hurt and felt left out. She didn’t want to speak with her
friend anymore and was ready to fight with her. I told her that it was not worth fighting over
and that she should talk to her friend and find out why she left her out. This drama made
me feel bad that two good friends were ending their relationship over a misunderstanding.
So the girl called and her friend understood that her feelings were hurt and apologized.
Pinkie, age 14

There was this girl, they called her Mickie. She was a cheerleader. She didn’t like me
because she liked a boy on the football team and I was dating him. Daily in homeroom
she would say something rude to me. But she was always subliminal about it. She would
be talking to one of her friends and say stuff about what I’m wearing or what I’m doing
loud enough for me to hear.

One day, just as the end of class bell rang, she said something very inappropriate directly
to me. She said, “If I like your boyfriend you can’t get mad, its life. He will one day be

I exploded. I burst into flames and yelled at her with all the strength in my lungs. Harsh
words spilled out of my mouth so quickly she probably thought I was speaking in a
foreign language. I was so angry I felt like I wanted to kill her. Of course, I couldn’t kill
anyone because I’m sweet hearted.

I know that my boyfriend loves me and that she’s just jealous, but now she wants to fight
me because my boyfriend told her that he’s not into her and that he never liked her. It’s
sad for her but that’s how it is.
Cyni, age 16

Seven years ago when I was a little girl I liked going to school and playing around with
friends. That is until sometime during the middle of the semester Ms. Chumbly, my 5 th grade
teacher accused me of stealing her paper weight, a big, clear marble rock with blue
bubbles. It was after lunch when Ms. Chumbly approached me. “Come here. I need to
talk to you,” she began. I replied, “Yes, I’m coming.” “A couple of the girls said they saw
you take my paper weight,” she stated.

There was no evidence and no reason for these girls to say that. The worst part I remember
was how bad I felt that I was discriminated against and disrespected when there was no
reason to suspect me.

At the end of one typical hot, humid school day as we packed our bags to go home my
best friend Sharlene whispered to me. “Did you know that Fabiola stole Ms. Chumbly’s
marble. Fabiola was the most conceited and greedy person I’ve ever met, but she had a
lot of friends in the class.

“Wow,” I said and continued walking home.
Tay, age 17

About a week ago my brother and I were walking home from the Mall when a guy I dated
came up to us and started to argue with my brother about how I was a tramp. He told my
brother that I was with many guys and that I didn’t deserve to be happy. I was very upset
and started to cry. I felt as if someone had punched me in the stomach until I threw up my
guts. I may be many things, but one thing I am not is a wh***e. When I stopped crying I
told him that he can say whatever he wants about me as long as it’s true, but if he ever
makes up things I would beat the crap out of him. The argument became worse and
worse. He went to hit me and my brother jumped in front of me and took the punch. They
ended up fighting. I tried to break them up. He in turn kind of hit me. So I slapped him and
continued until my brother pulled me away.

When we got home I told my parents what happened. My mom told me I should have
walked away immediately, but I know I couldn’t do that. The very next day I saw the guy
again and went up to him and apologized to him for how I acted. He began to cry and
told me that his mom had passed away and he was just angry and sad.

I realized that he was hurting others because he was feeling bad. I told him that he was
going about things the wrong way and that he needed to find another way to let his anger
out. We talked it out, but I’m still a little angry about the things he said about me. When
and if I see him again I will tell him that he was wrong to hit me even if I was becoming
violent and showing the pain that he showed me. I know I need to find better ways to
channel my anger instead of resorting to fighting. There has to be other ways to solve this
problem. I just need to find the way!
Cottard, age 15

When I was in middle school my classmates teased me. At first, it was hard for me to believe
what I was hearing. They were Hispanic kids saying things to me because of my dark skin.
“Your black, yo, why don’t you bleach yourself.”

I felt hurt, like I wanted to die. But one day when they were saying these things and calling
me names, I stood up and without a word just stared at them. Silence! I stayed quiet for
days and days. Teasing me was no longer giving them the reaction they wanted and they

Since then I’ve changed my look and my swagger. All I hope for now is a Hispanic girlfriend.
Jotha, age 17

No one wants to be disrespected in any way, shape or form. Being in high school is not
easy. We face difficulties along the way, especially with our peers. I came face to face
with a dilemma that I didn’t get a say in. It all happened so quick that I didn’t realize what
was happening.

I was sitting at lunch with two of my friends, Jenny and Maggy, eating our chicken and
drinking our juice. I was listening to music with my headphones on and wasn’t really paying
attention to anyone or anything. I got up from the table to buy a cookie and that’s when
I realized that there were two girls sitting next to me, friends of Lila, a girl I knew, but not
personally. When I came back to the table Jenny gave me a funny look, but I didn’t think
anything of it. I ate my cookie and lunch was over. The rest of the day was routine.

After school, Jenny, Maggy and I were standing in front of the food stand waiting for
Jenny’s mom when Jenny asked me if I knew Lila and her friends. I told her that I knew who
they were. “Well, Lila’s friends, the girls sitting at our table during lunch, were talking about
you, saying some really mean and rude things.” I told Jenny that I didn’t care.

The next day I saw Lila and her friends and they gave me a dirty look. I gave them a dirty
look right back and bumped into them on purpose. The day after that I walked right in
between them. I was upset with these girls because they didn’t even know me but had
the audacity to talk trash about me. The following day I decided to go up to them and
ask them what the problem is and the next thing I knew we were fighting. I was beating
Lila and punching her in the face. I was grabbed into the office and the girls and I were
lectured by our counselors. I was suspended for five days. I got in trouble for trying to
resolve the problem in a civil way but it went wrong. At the end I learned to just ignore
some people and move on with my life.
Stevenson, Age 16

I can remember that painful situation like it was yesterday. I was in class minding my own
business and these girls came up to me and started to rank on me. I pretended that I
didn’t care. I didn’t want to outwardly show that they hurt me, but these girls were rude
and they made me afraid to come to class. Their cruel words made me feel like I had been
stabbed a hundred times. They took away my self-confidence. When I got home I cried
my eyes out until I fell asleep.

My Mom told me that “time heals all wounds”. As a result of the way those girls made me
feel, I realized that words could cause pain and from that day on I would never rank on
someone else.
Martine, age 14

I have this friend named Trish. We went everywhere together. Then she broke up with one
boy and started dating his best friend. Because of this new boy, everything changed
between us. She no longer has any time for me. I felt sad because she would always make
up lame excuses instead of just telling me that she’s sorry that she doesn’t have as much
time to spend with me but still values my friendship. At least then I wouldn’t have felt so

I thought about this and realized that she was changing and that I have to understand
that she is in love and that I have to make it work. But in the end, we just say “hi” or “hey”
and go our separate way.
James Jr., age 15

There is this boy who thinks he is good at doing everything there is to do in the world. When
I first met him, he bragged how he could beat anybody at football including me. He said,
“I won the block and I’m on top.” My friend Corey told him that he had to beat me to be
really be on top because I was better than him.

He didn’t like that and began to get angry. I didn’t want to play with him because I didn’t
want to have problems after I won. He then challenged me in a disrespectful way. He
asked me if I was scared and called me a girl. This got me angry so I decided to play and
I won 47 to 7. He wanted a rematch but I said NO.

He screamed, cried, pouted and then he hit me and we fought. I still won!
Younnggin Kay, age 14

One time this boy Junior bullied my little cousin and took his basketball. Although I got the
basketball back, my older cousin convinced me that I should beat up Junior to teach him
a lesson. So I did that and had a good feeling of satisfaction for what I was able to
accomplish. Now, whenever this boy sees me he either walks in another direction or puts
his head down as he passes.
Apples Jack, age 15

During Early Release, I took two of my best friends, Stephanie and Rick, to Subways. I
ordered the sandwich and Rick pitched in for a drink. After we received the sandwich
Rick stood in line to buy the drink. While Rick was waiting on line, Stephanie and I
separated the sandwich and began eating. Stephanie took two bites out of the piece
we made for Rick. When Rick returned, Stephanie blamed me. That issue was over, and
we finished eating, but we were thirsty. Stephanie drank half the bottle of soda while Rick
and I drank the rest. I felt bad because Rick had only a little piece of the sandwich while
Stephanie and I had a full piece each.
Bill/Jean, age 16

I was at the mall and someone touched my hand. I don’t like people touching me!!! So, I
told my friend to turn around to see who was touching my hand. He said no … I said yes!
Then my friend told me not to be a “little girl” and that I should turn around myself. Then
he left me. I felt sad and mad. Hell! This was my friend. I hoped he would know that I
was feeling strange and be protective instead of leaving me alone.

When I turned around I saw a little girl touching my hand. LOL! She told me that I was
stepping on her doll.
Fantasy Troy, age 14

Back when I was in fifth grade I had an altercation with my best friend. She was angry
because her grandfather had recently died, and I was laughing about something and
she assumed it was about that. She said something rude to me and to provoke her I
threw pencil shavings at her. We were both taken out of the classroom and walking
towards the Principal’s office, she attempted to hit me. She missed but we ended up
fighting. I felt bad afterwards considering she was my best friend. I do regret what
Vick, age 15

One evil day while it was raining cats-n-dogs, my four feet three inches, no hair, sister and
I had an uncalled-for conflict. I was lying down on the couch watching TV when she
came out of nowhere and stole my sandal and ran out laughing. I got hot mad and
chased her around the house. But while I was chasing her a sharp rock went through my
legs which got me even hotter. When I finally caught her, I said bad words and hit her
multiple times. I felt sad because I should never have hit her. I should have ignored her.
Next time I’ll just keep watching TV or tell her to chill.
Tiki, age 15

Once upon a time there was a very mean girl named Maggy. Every day Maggy
harassed this girl named Tiki. When Tiki came to school, Maggy would jump on top of her
and Tiki would fall on the floor. Then Maggy would hit and kick Tiki over and over and
over again. Maggy called her names like “fat, ugly, stinky, dirty and baser.” Tiki’s feelings
were hurt and she would cry. Then, one day when Maggy came over to harass Tiki, this
time Tiki asked Maggy why she was always mean to her. Maggy said she love her, that’s
why. From then on Tiki and Maggy tried to be friends.
Pierre Jean-Charles, age 14

There was a boy named Rooks who always liked to fight and be the “Boss”. One day after
school, I saw Rooks walking towards a smaller kid and just knew that this kid was going to
get hurt. The weather started to change from sunny to stormy. It was an omen that
something bad was about to happen as the skies got darker and darker. I ran ahead and
told the kid to walk the other way. I hated what Rook was doing and decided to face him


The FIGHT began with words. As kids started to gather around, they began to shout, FIGHT!
FIGHT! FIGHT! Rooks charged at me and I dashed out of the way. He tried punching at me
but I kept moving. I hit him a few times in the face but it didn’t seem to have an effect. He
hit me in the face and I fell over and quickly got up. I got a good shot to his stomach and
he fell over just as the police arrived and broke up the fight. All the other kids seemed
speechless at what they saw.

As a result of that fight, I saw a change in Rook. He fought less and tried to fit in more. I’m
glad that he is no longer being mean and is more respectful of others.
Ayalo, age 16

Diana had a best friend named Lisa. One day when Diana went to Lisa’s house, Lisa said,
“Can I tell you something?” Diana said, “Yes, you can tell me anything. That’s what best
friends are for. Right?” Lisa said, “I met somebody I like a lot.” Diana said, “That’s nice. Who
is he?”

On the inside Diana was jealous but didn’t show it.

Lisa said, “His name is Steve.” Just then the phone rang. It was Steve. Lisa said to Diana,
“Bye. I got to go,” and started talking to Steve. Diana said, “Bye” in a sad voice as she
closed the door and left.

The next day Lisa came to Diana’s house. Lisa said, “How are you?” Diana answered, “I’m
good.” Then she said, “No, I’m sad. Now that you have a boyfriend you don’t have time
for me.” Lisa said, “I am sorry you feel bad. I will try to spend more time with you. Okay?”

A “Telling Stories Through Visuals” Project

Produced by

Center for Folk and Community Art (“CFCA”)
Alive on South Beach®™

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