I am currently co-facilitating a project with two amazing groups of people, the young people I work with in my program at the Youth Dreamers and a group of artists that manage and curate a green space on 33rd street here in Baltimore City. We had our first workshop last Thursday and I wasn't sure how it would go. Most planning had happened through e-mail and I didn't know what to expect when all the people came together face-to-face. My students were a little nervous, one of them sick, and we hadn't really had time to practice our plan, which I like to do before we collaborate with others. It ended up being really amazing though. And part of this, I think is how honest everyone was. My students and I do a ritual every week in which we say something that we are proud of, which I was going to forgo, but which they insisted we do. My assumption was that they would not want do this with the artists who were visiting whom they had just met, but they did. So we began, all my students said something that they were proud of and so did the visiting artists. This set a really great tone for the rest of the afternoon. And it was incredible to see the difference in the things that we each were proud of, but all statements were respected and clapped for. It didn't matter if it was seeing a best friend or graduating from college or apologizing or passing a test or taking a vacation. Whatever each individual was proud of, the group supported. It was beautiful. We then brainstormed and designed our artwork, it was fun, and joyous and we are going to create some amazing signs that will be installed on Tinges Commons, the green space these artists curate next Saturday, May 29th. At the end of the workshop we did Two Hots and a Not, another activity we repeat every week. During this time, we again had a really amazing moment of honesty. My students always tell me exactly what they liked and didn't like in an afternoon. Sometimes it doesn't have anything to do with the program and that allows me to see what things affect them. The artists were also very honest and it was great to have another opportunity to see where we each were coming from. It is these moments that I can see very clearly why I love what I do. I love being a part of creating spaces where people can be honest about where they are coming from and begin to see other's perspectives as well. Honest expression is the basis of connection and creating space for this type of expression, even in groups where people are coming from different places is incredibly important.