Day Trip to D.C. – Speaking at the Kennedy Center Art Summit

Yazmeen Arrington and Jasmine Babers at the Kennedy Center Art Summit 2018

I actually love being in new places… the catch is, I hate getting there. I’ll admit I’m not the most patient person, and airports and train stations make me itch with anxiety. But I love to see all my friends around the country and I love exploring different cities and meeting new people. So I suck it up and do what needs to be done in order to make the adventure happen. This past April I took a crazy quick trip to Washington D.C. to speak at the Kennedy Centers 2018 Art Summit centered around the intersection of health and art.

Fittingly, for the past 7 years, my first organization, Love Girls Magazine has focused on the intersections for graphic design and self-esteem in teenage girls. We used the medium of the magazine to push our message of self-love, justice, anti-bullying, and leadership. I’ve loved using art as a form of activism so I was thrilled when my friends over at Peace First, one of my first fellowships, asked me to participate.

The Kennedy Center was A DREAM. First of all, I’m obsessed with Washington D.C. I love the regal, classic look of the buildings and the diversity of the people. D.C. is a hub of innovation and power and you can feel it. The Kennedy Center itself was no exception. While I didn’t get to explore the entire building, what I did see was phenomenal. The staff was lovely and attentive, as I arrived literally seconds before I was due onstage. I was met with smiles and warm words and despite my nerves, I felt right at home.

Art Summit Program (youngest speaker)

I always struggle with being the youngest person in a room or conversation.

I like to believe I’ve gotten used to that sort of, “do I belong here?” feeling, but admittedly, it still looms in the back of my head every time I raise my voice to speak.

To be honest, I had to learn early how to silence those doubts in my head about not being good/old/smart/experienced enough. As the love of my life, Audre Lorde says: Your silence will not protect you.

photo by the lovely Yazmeen

I’m excited to start interviewing young people for Fostering Incarceration because I know what it feels like when someone asks you to share your thoughts. Sometimes we feel like nobody cares… and when you feel that reassurance that actually, people DO care what you have to say, your voice gets a little stronger and you feel a little taller.

As we say at the magazine, “every girl has a story.” and its true. absolutely true.

To learn more about the magazine check out:

And to see my full talk at the Kennedy Center you can check out minutes 1:17-1:36

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