juanita mohammed: My granddaughter, Pharah, and I chose to read our poetry to each other. That was easy. The hard part was deciding which poem to include because we each wrote five! For me, “She Had a Hard Week” and “The Incredible Older Woman” had to be included. The former because I have experienced domestic violence in the window of others’ lives. I have seen and heard women friends express how the men in their lives have berated them behind closed doors and in front of others, how they have put their hands on them, how they have felt the pain of losing a loved one to the violence. Why would a person “love you so much” that they would kill you rather than let you go? “The Incredible Older Woman” was written because the reality of being a senior finally hit me. To see and feel the pain, the deterioration of my body, the slowing down of my mind is like a living hell. Add to this the pain when you see others look at you in disgust—or even worse, right through you.
With our video editor, Felicia Bigg, we decided to include power words from the poems on the screen as we read. We feel that every person from our crew was a part of our journey. Felicia spent hours looking for images of powerful women like Annie Sprinkle and Indira Gandhi, who have been called whores because they dare to defy society's rules. Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit are animated strong women.
pharaoh “pharah” diaz: When I first was asked to do this project, I was nervous and unsure if I could. But then I started to think about my life and my future. I wrote the poems on my truth, what I had seen and felt in my nineteen years of life. The most important things I learned are: have fun, be true to yourself, but mostly fight for whatever you believe in. Young people today give up on relationships, family, even themselves. This project made me realize that I have a will fire. I just need to use it.